Today, Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA) presented the results of its 2019 fiscal year at its Annual Public Meeting, held virtually to comply with COVID-19 provincial public health orders.
The meeting, which typically reflects on the accomplishments and fiscal position of the prior year, focused on how HIAA is responding to COVID-19 and what the future holds as the aviation industry grapples with the catastrophic impacts of the pandemic.
“Throughout this crisis, our top priority has always been the health and safety of our passengers, employees and community members,” said Joyce Carter, President and CEO of HIAA. “I’m incredibly thankful for the many Halifax Stanfield employees who have continued working throughout the pandemic, to maintain safe airport operations for essential travel and delivery of much needed supplies.”
Pre-COVID-19, HIAA was well-positioned for continued future growth. HIAA’s financial performance in 2019 was strong, due to steady passenger volume, record cargo activity, sound fiscal management, measured capital investment, and continued strategic oversight. As an economic engine for the region, Halifax Stanfield supports 5,600 jobs, with 120 organizations operating on site, contributing $355 million annually in provincial labour income, and an economic impact of $3.8 billion annually.
“The beginning of 2020 was strong, in terms of passenger traffic, in spite of service lost due to the grounding of the 737 MAX,” said Paul Brigley, VP Finance and Chief Financial Officer of HIAA. “Unfortunately, we’ve now had a dramatic downturn in passenger traffic and associated revenues, a trend we expect to continue in the months ahead. Current forecasts only indicate a return to 2019 passenger levels by 2024. Our recovery planning is in full swing so we can be ready to support airlines, airport businesses and travellers.”
At today’s meeting, the Chair of HIAA’s Board, Marie Mullally, reflected on the strength of HIAA’s leadership team and how they’re positioned to support the region’s recovery.
“Facing the significant headwinds caused by the pandemic will be a focal point for the entire HIAA team, who will be a critical catalyst for economic recovery,” said Ms. Mullally. “I’m confident that our strong foundation, exceptional leadership, and the unwavering commitment of the entire HIAA community will support a prosperous future for our region.”
After 11 years as a director, and two years as Board Chair, Ms. Mullally’s term on the Board of Directors ends today.
At today’s Annual Public Meeting, Ms. Mullally announced the incoming Chair of the Board is Stephen Dempsey, who has served on the HIAA Board for nine years and was most recently Vice Chair. His appointment to Chair of the Board is effective May 27, 2020.
“I’m honoured to have the opportunity to continue supporting the airport’s efforts to facilitate safe and efficient passenger and cargo travel, while recognizing its important role in our regional economy,” said Mr. Dempsey. “Halifax Stanfield is facing its greatest challenge, but I know the entire HIAA team is focused on recovery and will build upon the airport’s proud reputation and emerge from this crisis stronger than before.”
HIAA continues to closely monitor and assess adjustments to air travel restrictions and public health measures domestically and internationally. Working closely with airline and government partners, the airport will continue to support health and safety measures put in place to protect the travelling public.
“We have some tough days ahead, however over the 20 years that HIAA has managed, operated, and developed Halifax Stanfield, we’ve grown and established ourselves as an important contributor to the region, one that we can be proud to serve,” said Carter. “It’s for this reason that I’m confident we’ll get through this extremely challenging time, and be there for our community again, when the time is right.”