Recently announced non-stop service to and from Winnipeg and Atlanta via WestJet is sparking anticipation in the business community, offering untapped opportunities for growth and collaboration among critical sectors in Winnipeg and Manitoba as the city solidifies its economic prowess.
"Connectivity is integral to our city's capacity for economic development, and the YWG-ATL route is another significant step forward," emphasized Dayna Spiring, former President & CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg (EDW) during the flight launch event held on May 11, 2023, at Price Industries’ home office. "Direct flights to Atlanta will enable important business connections, particularly in agribusiness, advanced manufacturing and creative industries – three of our key industries."
At the venture's core is the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the third-largest U.S. airport and the world's busiest airport measured by passenger traffic volumes. ATL was the first airport in the world to welcome more than 100 million passengers in a single year.
With over 2,700 daily arrivals and departures and 226 direct flights to 219 cities in 46 countries, this global hub eliminates geographical barriers, facilitating Winnipeg and Manitoba business leaders' access to international markets, boosting Manitobans' global adventure opportunities and opening Winnipeg to easier visitation.
"NFI Group is thrilled to learn of the launch of Winnipeg to Atlanta WestJet flights," said Paul Soubry, President and CEO, NFI Group. "While we are located in the centre of North America, getting to and from our customers, suppliers and NFI locations at times can be a challenge. This is major win for our company as we do considerable business in the southeast U.S. and the benefit of having direct access to such a significant hub like Atlanta can’t be understated."
In 2022, alongside our partners at the Winnipeg Airports Authority, WestJet and the Province of Manitoba, EDW was thrilled to participate in an announcement of the first new non-stop service from YWG since 2016 – with the launch of three-times weekly service between Winnipeg and Los Angeles.
"We committed then to strive to secure more major routes out of YWG and to keep advocating with our domestic and international carriers," said Spiring. "We cannot take our foot off the gas when it comes to expanding our reach and strengthening connectivity. We need that so we can effectively we tell Winnipeg’s story and build business connections."
WestJet's introduction of this economic conduit marks a transformative chapter for Winnipeg's business landscape. This route isn't just about flights and convenience; it's about forging connections, nurturing collaboration and fueling growth and progress.
The inaugural non-stop flight to ATL takes off on September 6, 2023.
- Winnipeg –> Atlanta: 5x weekly, 9:00 a.m. departure; 1:09 p.m. arrival
- Atlanta –> Winnipeg: 5x weekly 2:00 p.m. departure; 4:20 p.m. arrival
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Creating connectivity – Background
- Atlanta is strategically located. Since most of the U.S. population lives in the eastern third of the country, more than 80 per cent of U.S. consumers can be reached from the greater Atlanta area in two hours by flight or two truckload delivery days.
- Atlanta has the third highest concentration of FORTUNE 500 company headquarters. Georgia's capital is a thriving economic epicentre that mirrors Winnipeg's strengths. The city's focus on technology, aerospace, logistics and more aligns well with Winnipeg's economic landscape and aspirations, creating an environment ripe for mutual growth and innovation.
- The 3x weekly non-stop flights from Winnipeg to LAX/LAX to Winnipeg have proven popular, with WestJet seeing consistent and strong demand for transborder travel.
- In September 2023, EDW and WAA will launch a corporate travel needs and patterns survey to members of our business community to help inform a well-researched routes advocacy plan.
- Advanced manufacturing - The manufacturing sector is a crucial driver of Manitoba's economy, accounting for nearly 70,000 jobs and more than $6 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the province. Georgia excels in advanced manufacturing, surpassing the U.S. in 10-year GDP growth in machinery, electronics and metal products. With a $59.5 billion output and 289,000 production workers, their diverse sectors thrive. Vital shipping and logistics bolster manufacturers' competitiveness and speed to market.
- Agribusiness - In 2019, Manitoba's agriculture and agri-food processing sector yielded $11.5 billion in sales, adding $4.5 billion to the provincial GDP, including $1.7 billion in labour income. This sector also established 40,830 direct job opportunities for Manitobans. Georgia's primary sector is agribusiness, contributing a substantial annual economic impact of more than $74 billion.
- Life sciences and biotechnology: As Western Canada's premier pharmaceutical manufacturing centre, Manitoba thrives in life sciences and biotech. In 2021, this sector boosted our GDP by $5.2 billion, ranking as Manitoba's fourth-largest industry. According to Kim Kline, President of Bioscience Association Manitoba, faster access to Atlanta's bustling life sciences hub means greater opportunities for the Manitoba bioscience community to collaborate with their U.S. counterparts. "This new development is expected to result in increased knowledge sharing, fostering growth and opening Manitoba to the world, showcasing our strong and thriving bioscience industry."