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Canada’s Winnipeg Airport to strengthen cargo ops with construction, redevelopment

During its annual meeting yesterday, Winnipeg Airport Authority (WAA) outlined upcoming cargo infrastructure expansion plans at Winnipeg Airport (YWG), which will include construction of a new C$27 million Ground Services Equipment Building (GSE) on the east side of the airport’s property, as well as the redevelopment of land on the west side of the airport’s property.  

YWG began construction of its GSE building on the east side of its airport property in June 2018, and completion is expected by the end of this year. Tenants of YWG’s existing cargo campus, such as Air CanadaCargojet, FedEx, Purolator, UPS and Volga-Dnepr Airlines, will be required to relocate their ground services equipment operations to the new 96,175 square foot building. The GSE will have two specific impacts on cargo operations at the airport: 

  • First, it will increase operational efficiency by bringing air cargo providers closer to the tarmac and within the airport’s “critical restricted area.” This means that not only will the companies be closer to the airplanes for loading and unloading but will also not have to move through security check points to get to the planes with each trip, which will enable them to conduct their operations more freely. 
  • Second, much-needed space for cargo will open on the cargo campus with the relocation of ground services equipment. YWG did not specify how much room for capacity would become available but said it will revisit discussions to redevelop the space in 2020. 

Regarding the planned redevelopment of 260 acres of land on the west side of YWG’s property, the airport told Cargo Airport News that the project will include the construction of multiple buildings to house a variety of companies, including those providing services for e-commerce and cargo. YWG has had multiple planning exercises and is currently in discussion with companies interested in the project. At this time, YWG could not provide further detail regarding definitive plans for the project or which companies are seeking to bring operations to the airport, but said that it is looking forward to beginning the process for development of this area in midtolate 2020. 

YWG is in Canada’s central Manitoba province, which provides the 24-hour airport easy access East-West across Canada and North-South into the United States via air and surrounding multi-modal forms of transport. In its Annual Report 2018, the WAA reported that cargo volumes at YWG increased 5% in 2018, compared to the year prior – year-over-year domestic cargo volumes saw a 2% increase, while U.S. cargo volumes jumped 17%. YWG said that an increase of larger aircraft flying to the airport in 2018 contributed to this growth. 

While YWG sees a large variety of goods – including live animals, manufacturing products, biopharmaceuticals and perishables – moving through its airport, e-commerce comprises a large amount of its overall cargo volumes, due to the presence of DHL, FedEx and Cargojet at the airport. Carriers at the airport operate daily services to all major Canadian cities, including Vancouver (YVR), Edmonton (YEG), Toronto (YYZ) and Calgary (YYC), and U.S. e-commerce hubs in Memphis (MEM), Louisville (SDF) and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (CVG).  

YWG said it is early to determine a specific outlook on volumes for the year, but expects to see steady growth in traffic through 2019 due to Manitoba’s diverse and growing economy, which will be bolstered by the airport’s own efforts to support the cargo operations of its stakeholders. 

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