By Michael Badejo
If you think of the airport campus as a city, you can paint an uncommon but practical picture. The terminal would be downtown, hotels could be considered residences, and travellers as well as staff would be the citizens. But who is playing the role of city hall? That would be Winnipeg Airports Authority — and by the time you’re reading this, they’ll have been managing and growing this community’s airport for 20 years!
On January 1, 1997, the transfer of Winnipeg Richardson International Airport from Transport Canada to Winnipeg Airports Authority became official. WAA is community-based and community-driven. This means being accountable for everything from the management and operation of Winnipeg Richardson International Airport to growing the Iqaluit International Airport and other related businesses.
From its beginnings, they have worked diligently to increase revenue from $22 million to $111 million. Altogether, Winnipeg Airports Authority generates a regional economic impact of more than $3.6 billion and welcomed more than 3.78 million travellers last year alone. All of this adds up to transporting more than 10,000 passengers a day, and providing more than 20,000 jobs in and around the airport city.
Though economics are important, the significance of being a community leader can’t be overstated. Over the past 20 years, Winnipeg Airports Authority’s mission statement — “with our community, we provide excellent airport services and facilities in a fiscally prudent manner” — has threaded through the operation and development of the business. The first three words are especially taken to heart, as being an active, reliable and integral part of their community is a priority.
It is important to note that their net revenues are reinvested into the organization — our community airport and the campus itself. Over the past 20 years, the priority flow through all of it has been delivering positive impacts that bring the extended community closer together. One such example would be WAA’s development in the North. They are offering expertise in airport management and aiding redevelopment of the Iqaluit Airport, including a new terminal set to open in August 2017.
WAA also champions numerous local charities and community initiatives throughout the year with staff resources and financial support. They focus on charitable organizations including but not limited to Winnipeg Harvest, United Way Winnipeg (UWW), 220 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, Firefighters Burn Fund, and STARS Air Ambulance. WAA also supports wider initiatives such as the World Wildlife Fund’s Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
The growth, development and excitement that have taken place over the past 20 years did not happen on its own — the vibrancy that defines the campus comes from their future-forward planning and vision. Looking ahead, there will be more enhancements to the “airport city” as passenger traffic and overall aircraft movements continue to grow alongside enhanced and wider options for every type of traveller. Being proactive around these and other future needs is top of mind for Winnipeg Airports Authority.
As the gateway to Manitoba, WAA proudly serves, represents and invests in this region. Whether travellers are looking to discover more of Canada with a growing list of carriers, want to fly direct from Winnipeg Richardson International Airport to other worldly locations, or wish to connect with the people they love, WAA is here to support them. They’re sure to have some exciting things planned in 2017 for their 20th anniversary, and are ecstatic to include the group that has been so instrumental along the way: the larger community. Stay tuned for more!