Important year for airport ahead

Business plan expected to be finished showing route ahead for airport

Red Deer Airport had a record 75,000 aircraft movements last year and was on track for its best financial year.

Then Air Canada pulled out at the end of October.

Despite that setback, 2018 was a solid year for the airport, said Red Deer Airport executive director Graham Ingham.

“We were on pace for record revenue again until Air Canada pulled the pin. The revenue associated with Air Canada for November and December was probably in the range of $200,000 to $250,000 in revenue.

“So we’re actually doing quite well.”

Revenues came in at $1.16 million, down from $1.2 million a year earlier. Land leases and rents were up, offsetting much of the revenue lost from Air Canada.

The airport authority’s eye remains focused on the prize — the return of scheduled passenger service — which is expected to happen in the next 18 months to two years if all goes well.

Before that happens, the airport must make some multimillion-dollar changes. A bigger terminal is needed, along with runway and apron improvements.

The cost could vary considerably depending on the options chosen, however, between $9 million and $10 million is “in the ballpark,” said Ingham.

“It all depends on ultimately what path we decide to go down. We have a couple of options as far as expanding, and both of them have different costs.”

A business plan is in the works, and it is expected over the summer the airport and its board will have a clearer vision of the path ahead.

Building a new terminal is not realistic, and renovating the existing terminal is unlikely. The best option will likely be modifying an existing building at the airport.

How it would be funded will be a key component of the business plan.

Standing applications for millions in grants are in government hands, but there has been no word yet, and with a new provincial government only weeks in power, it will likely be some time before there is an answer.

Both the City of Red Deer and Red Deer County are partners in the airport and provide operational funding help. Going to them for significant additional financing is not the airport’s first choice.

Borrowing is another option for the airport, which has little long-term debt currently.

“Ultimately, we think we have a strong enough business plan to service the debt ourselves,” Ingham said.

On the revenue side, ambitious plans to market development land, mostly on the north side of the airport, were unveiled at the airport authority’s annual general meeting last week.

A Markham, Ont.-based development company with a background in finding aviation-related investors has been hired.



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Red Deer’s single parents and children at greatest risk of poverty, says report

Yet almost half of local low-income families are people living alone

Graffiti vandals strike Kerry Wood Nature Centre in Red Deer

Cleanup will be tricky at bird sanctuary

Foodgrains project is in the ground

Lacombe County farmers continue to help feed the hungry

Red Deer housing market sales down 6%

The Red Deer housing market remains flat, says a realtor. Alex Wilkinson… Continue reading

Stamp collectors from across Alberta will gather in Red Deer Saturday

Local philatelist wants to restart the Red Deer stamp club

Dogs and drugs don’t mix: Red Deer business wants to leave downtown after 18 years

One business owner is done with downtown Red Deer after 18 years.… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Gardening: Adding a new dimension with water

A water feature, large or small, adds a whole new dimension to… Continue reading

Alberta throne speech promises changes to expand economy, end carbon tax

EDMONTON — The new Alberta government has set its first legislature sitting… Continue reading

Wider fire bans, off-highway vehicle restrictions in northern Alberta

The fire ban prohibiting campfires and unauthorized burning, and restricting the use… Continue reading

WestJet pilot injured by green laser light while approaching Orlando airport

A WestJet pilot flying from Newfoundland to Orlando International Airport had his… Continue reading

Canada hires firm to ship back garbage, will be done before end of June: McKenna

OTTAWA — Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says the Canadian trash that has… Continue reading

Newfoundland man pleads not guilty in case of skeleton stolen from graveyard

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A young Newfoundland man pleaded not guilty Wednesday… Continue reading

Canadians increasingly worried over boomers’ health bills, survey finds

CHARLOTTETOWN — Canadians are increasingly concerned about how to pay for the… Continue reading

Most Read