‘Debt level is very concerning’: Regina Airport Authority releases 2020 report

The Regina airport faced its fair share of difficulties during 2020.

The Regina Airport Authority released its 2020 annual report Wednesday which shows a growing debt level and increasing requests for financial support from the federal government. James Bogusz, president and CEO of the Regina Airport Authority, admitted during the airport’s virtual event that their facility’s debt level is very concerning.

Deficit of revenue over expenses in 2020 was at $11,852,384, while the airport’s cash flows are nearly depleted at $887,004. In 2019, cash flow was reported at $9,652,991.

Bogusz said this is primarily operating debt.

“We have to sell sandwiches, parked cars and have aircraft come and go to use the money to pay for that debt,” he explained. “This is debt that historically we have never had at all. This is why as we go into our line of credit, which we are in heavily right now, coming into June and July we are going to be in a situation where we are in debt over $5 million dollars.”

President and CEO James Bogusz said they continue to go deeper into debt as things move forward on their current trajectory. (Image courtesy of Regina Airport Authority)

Bogusz added they are applying for federal government subsidies to help alleviate their debt burden to avoid having to establish additional fees and charges at the airport. One item they hope to receive funding for from Ottawa involves a large improvement project to its main runway – Runway 13-31.

“This is a project that requires a full resurfacing which will see us shave the pavement down and repave with pavement that will last us another 10 to 15 years,” Bogusz shared. “This surface is unfortunately cracking due to age and use, as it normally would.”

The president and CEO said the runway is due for resurfacing which he suggests will become more urgent in the next couple years if work has not started by then. It would cost about $25 million to $30 million.

According to the annual report, the airport faced an 86.95 per cent decrease with destinations reduced to just Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Over 30 per cent of YQR’s staff were laid off, along with cuts to the capital investment program and greatly reduced operating budgets.

Bogusz mentioned the Regina International Airport was the 15th busiest airport in Canada before the pandemic with over 1.17 million passengers and $28 million in revenue.

The full annual report can be viewed at the Regina Airport Authority’s website.

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