QUÉBEC CITY, March 2, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Aéroport de Québec inc. (AQi) board chair André Fortin and president and CEO Gaëtan Gagné today released the company's 2016 Annual Report at the AQi Annual General Meeting.
For the fifteenth straight year, 2016 saw significant growth but also an unparalleled level of trust in our organization and ongoing projects on the part of passengers and the general public.
We also joined this year with our partners and the Québec City community to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB). YQB owes its success to the hard work of regional socioeconomic stakeholders, committed politicians and officials, our loyal partners, and our dedicated, enthusiastic employees. But more than anything, we are where we are today because of our passengers, who remain our number one priority.
Growing passenger demand
The number of passengers traveling through the Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport main terminal was up 2.7% in 2016, bringing the total for the year to 1,615,750. The 8.1% rise in domestic air travel partly explains this increase. Flights between YQB and the hubs of certain Montreal- and Toronto-based airlines were especially popular.
"We also faced a series of operational challenges in 2016, the greatest being renovation work on the intersection of our two runways over a period of 12 days last spring. Despite the capacity constraints imposed by having a single, shorter main runway, the number of passengers using our facilities increased," explained Gaëtan Gagné.
"I'd like to thank our employees and partners who made sure our passengers and operations were not affected." The second phase of upgrades to the main runway is scheduled for May 23 to August 9, 2017.
A healthy fiscal year
Aéroport de Québec inc. posted overall earnings of $8.8 million in 2016, with revenues of $58.9 million and operating expenses of $50.1 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) totaled $24.5 million in 2016. All AQi earnings are reinvested into the company and put toward providing more services to passengers.
U.S. preclearance center at YQB
2016 will be remembered as the year a U.S. preclearance center at the Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport came one step closer to reality. On March 10, 2016, during a visit to Washington, Canada's Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, and former U.S. President Barack Obama announced an agreement in principle to complete the facility in Québec City.
The project, which will change the face of air travel in the area and strengthen YQB's role as a major economic driver, has been a source of immense pride across the greater Québec City area. A new U.S. preclearance center at YQB will also generate substantial economic spinoffs. But ultimately, YQB's passengers will be the ones to reap the most immediate benefits from the new facility, with significantly shorter connection times in the U.S and more direct flights to U.S. destinations.
"The local business community and 95% of Québec City area residents wanted a U.S. preclearance center at the Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport, and now it is poised to become a reality," said Gagné. "Everybody felt the same way—that a preclearance center was vital to tourism and economic development in the region and in all of eastern and northern Québec."
Over 40 majors companies in the greater Québec City area supported the U.S. preclearance center at YQB. On the federal level, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, with the support of the Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, and the Minister of Public Safety, Ralph Goodale, is working hard to make the U.S. preclearance center at YQB a great success. On the provincial level, Québec Premier Philippe Couillard has supported the U.S. preclearance center in Québec City from the beginning, and the Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region, François Blais, feels it is important for YQB to be on equal footing with other Canadian airports to benefit residents of the greater Québec City area.
YQB 2018, big plans for a bright future
Launched in spring 2015, YQB 2018 will see a series of construction projects brought to fruition as well as implementation of state-of-the-art airport technology. A total of $227 million is slated for expanding the terminal and managing growth at the Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport in the coming years.
"YQB 2018 is much more than a construction project. It's the articulation of Aéroport de Québec's vision of how best to handle expected growth in the years ahead. Since the Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport is already operating at full capacity, major investments were needed to accommodate a minimum of two million passengers by 2020," said André Fortin. "It's very much a long-term plan, spread over a number of years," he added.
Unwavering support from the community
We are also delighted to see that once again this year, Québec City area residents appreciate YQB's vital role in our region's growth and development. A SOM survey in January shows that for the fifth year in a row, more than 90% of respondents have a positive opinion of YQB, believe that YQB contributes to our economic prosperity, and support our current development plans. These results show that making our Passenger First ® strategy a top priority has been a good move.
About Aéroport de Québec inc. (AQi)
Since November 1, 2000, Aéroport de Québec inc., a non-profit company, has been responsible for the management, operation, maintenance, and development of YQB. More than 10 airlines offer multiple routes to destinations in North America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Europe, with daily service to major hubs in northeastern North America.
SOURCE Aéroport de Québec
For further information: Mathieu Claise, Communications and Public Relations Manager, Aéroport de Québec inc., Tel.: 418-640-2700 ext. 2625