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Stéphane Poirier, president and CEO of Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB), was invited to address Québec City’s business community as part of a luncheon held by the city’s chamber of commerce. During his presentation, he discussed how YQB intends to support the growth of Québec City’s airport, allowing it to fully play its role as a driver of socio-economic development and, eventually, take its proper place on the world stage.
Focus on development
“Six months ago, I took over the reins of an organization during a time of transition. My goal was to accelerate its growth and development. Now, my role is to help it meet its full potential, while ensuring a profitable transition for YQB after a major period of construction,” said Poirier. To achieve this, the organization will invest all its efforts in four strategic areas: diversifying revenue, optimizing and reducing operating costs, mobilizing human resources and engaging the community and stakeholders.
Poirier believes that YQB’s development depends heavily on the involvement of the community. He invited business people from the greater Québec City area to become leading ambassadors to help the organization increase its influence and pursue its growth. “We will need commitment from everyone. Improving air accessibility requires many different stakeholders to work together. We’re working on concrete initiatives alongside airlines and several key players in the region,” he stated. These efforts are bearing fruit, as several airlines have improved their service to Québec City in recent months.
YQB also has its sights on destinations desired by residents of the greater Québec City area. “Working with the community, we’re going to focus our efforts on viable destinations for our market. We will create winning conditions to improve service to destinations already offered from YQB — such as Paris, Fort Lauderdale and Calgary — and we’re going to make a major effort to pick up direct flights to Boston, Orlando, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Edmonton, Vancouver and Halifax,” said Poirier.
American customs pre-clearance centre: a key project
Poirier also took the opportunity to review the situation of the American customs pre-clearance centre at YQB. “Establishing a pre-clearance centre is a must for the Québec City airport’s development. This is a project that has been requested by the community and all of our economic partners in the region. We have made great strides on this issue and are continuing to work hard on it,” he said.
To that end, YQB is holding discussions with all relevant stakeholders (elected officials and the Canadian and American governments). “We’re looking at different models that would let us make YQB a pilot project and a technological showcase for American customs pre-clearance. Our goal is to complete the project by reducing implementation times and costs and improving the passenger experience,” he added.
YQB, a driver of socio-economic development
Finally, Poirier confirmed his intent to strengthen YQB’s contribution to regional socio-economic development. “We want to make YQB a model of regional representation and a real lever for economic development. In the Québec City region, YQB already generates $260 million in economic benefits annually and supports 2,500 jobs at the airport. We can say that YQB is very important to the economic health of our region and we intend to increase its contribution tenfold in the coming years,” he concluded.