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Less traffic, more cash

PASSENGER traffic at Winnipeg's Richardson International Airport was down slightly in the fourth quarter of 2013 but revenue and earnings were up.

The Winnipeg Airports Authority, the non-share capital corporation responsible for the management and operation of the airport, reported passenger counts were off by 0.24 per cent during the last three months of the year.

But revenue was up 11.5 per cent to $23.3 million and earnings before interest, depreciation and taxes were also up 11.5 per cent to $10.7 million compared to the same period in 2012.

"As the quarter ended, we were pleased to see the carriers adding capacity back into our market," said Barry Rempel, president and CEO of the WAA. "The availability of seats in key markets helps stimulate traffic and meet customer expectations for connectivity with Winnipeg."

During the quarter, Sunwing added 32 per cent more seats and 19 additional flights in the fourth quarter and Air Canada added 6.4 per cent more seats from an extra flight per day to Vancouver that started in December, as well as using larger planes on routes to Montreal and Calgary.

 

Man. ripped for red tape

A group representing small business owners has given the Manitoba government the worst grade of any province when it comes to measuring and reporting on red tape.

In its fourth annual Red Tape Report Card released on Tuesday, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said Manitoba's grade remains unchanged from last year at D- due to no progress being made in the past year on red-tape measurement.

"While five provinces and the federal government are committed to measuring and reporting red tape, Manitoba has taken little action in the past year. This leaves Manitoba small businesses spending more time and money complying with excessive paperwork, completing duplicative forms and following rules that are inconsistent or don't make sense," the federation said.

"With red tape costing Manitoba small businesses nearly $1 billion annually, measuring and publicly reporting the amount of red tape is critical to understanding this hidden tax," said Elliot Sims, the federation's director of provincial affairs in Manitoba.

As was the case last year, the CFIB gave British Columbia the top grade in the country -- an A. The federal government was given a B+, also unchanged from a year ago.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 29, 2014 B6

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