Red Deer Regional Airport CEO Graham Ingham, left, with Tony Hunley and Jim Freake of Tucana Aviation. The airport has announced an agreement with the company to improve ground support services at the facility. (Photo contributed)

Red Deer Regional Airport CEO Graham Ingham, left, with Tony Hunley and Jim Freake of Tucana Aviation. The airport has announced an agreement with the company to improve ground support services at the facility. (Photo contributed)

Red Deer airport getting better support services

Red Deer Regional Airport has a new partner to operate its terminal and provide co-ordinated ground support services for planes, aircraft staff and passengers.

Tucana Aviation, one of the companies already selling fuel at the airport, will soon offer maintenance, catering, transportation and accommodation bookings that will turn the terminal into what is known as a full-service fixed-based operator.

The terminal is also getting a $115,000 facelift.

The improvements come on the heels of an announcement that the facility will soon become a controlled airport, with an operating control tower staffed by NAV CANADA using internal air traffic control staff.

“With this relationship, they’re taking over the terminal, and the main apron, and providing all services exclusively for the airport on a five-year contract,” airport CEO Graham Ingham said Monday of the arrangement with Tucana Aviation.

Currently, the airport does not offer scheduled passenger service, but more services will boost charter traffic and help the airport grow, he said.

“There’s still quite a bit of charter service running around in Alberta, and we want to partner with somebody who has a lot of experience and connection in that business,” said Ingham.

“And at the same time, we want to provide a better service for people who are using this airport.”

Tucana operations manager Jim Freake said airports in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Grande Prairie all have full-service fixed-based operators.

“I believe people fly over our airport because there’s no services. Why would you stop if there are no services for your plane?” Freake asked.

He said when John Fogerty played in Red Deer recently, his plane had to stop in Lethbridge to clear customs.

“He couldn’t fly straight to Red Deer. There’s no services here. There’s no customs.

“Central Alberta is big enough. We need these kinds of services. We’re really hoping to bring in charters, to bring in business, with hopes of an airline.

“The province just put $10 million into our runway to get 737s here. Now we’ve got to bring the traffic,” Freake said.

He said growth won’t happen overnight, but it all starts with having a full-service fixed-based operator. The airport, he added, is working to bring in customs services down the road.

Tucana Aviation will begin offering its new services Dec. 1.

Ingham said the terminal renovation project, which includes a private waiting area for pilots, got underway a few days ago. The grand opening is scheduled for Nov. 21.

“We’re in the process of refurbishing the whole terminal. It’s going to be bright. It’s going to be a completely different look and feel,” Ingham said.

“The floors and the ceiling date back to 1976. It’s time.”

Last week, NAV CANADA announced Red Deer airport will become a controlled airport. As an uncontrolled airport, Red Deer has instead had a flight services station providing advisory services.

“It may or may not involve a new tower,” said Ingham. “They’re not entirely sure yet. They anticipate this process taking about 22 months to switch it over.”

Ingham said as the fourth busiest airport in Alberta, there are about 80,000 takeoffs and landings per year in Red Deer.

“The airport is going to become safer as a result of becoming a controlled airport and it’s also going to allow the airport to further grow. We could be looking at 100,000 to 120,000 movements per year.”



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Airport

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Red Deer says its roundabouts have sharply reduced the number of injury collisions at a pair of busy intersections. Alberta Transportation wants to incorporate five roundabouts into plans to twin Highway 11 from Sylvan Lake to Rocky Mountain House. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Highway 11 roundabouts will increase safety based on Red Deer’s experience

Injury collisions sharply reduced at roundabout intersections in city

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

Alberta reported an additional 643 COVID-19 cases Friday. The province now has… Continue reading

About 110 students from Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools participated in March for Life rally in Edmonton May 9. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer high school has COVID-19 case

St. Joseph High School in Red Deer confirmed a positive COVID-19 case… Continue reading

Lacombe High School logo.
Two more COVID-19 cases at Lacombe Composite High School

Lacombe Composite High School confirmed two more positive COVID-19 cases at the… Continue reading

World Juniors’ referee Mike Langin makes a called during the Canada vs. Slovakia at the 2021 World Junior Championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Dec. 27, 2020. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada)
Former Sylvan Lake man lives his dream at World Junior Championships

Mike Langin was one the 25 Canadian officials who worked during the tournament

Former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley shakes hands with Joel Ward, former Red Deer College President and CEO, as Notley announces that the college is on the path to grant degrees. Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan says university status is not a necessary condition for offering degrees. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Future of Red Deer University increasingly uncertain

MLA’s college update says RDC more like SAIT and NAIT than a university

There are two confirmed COVID-19 cases at Red Deer College. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Central Albertans were promised a university

Central Albertans were promised a university

FILE - Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron sits for a portrait after receiving his COVID-19 vaccination at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, in this Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, file photo. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo/Ron Harris, File)
Hank Aaron, baseball’s one-time home run king, dies at 86

Hank Aaron, baseball’s one-time home run king, dies at 86

Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson (55) passes the ball around Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Powell, Raptors regroup after blowing lead, beat Heat 101-81

Powell, Raptors regroup after blowing lead, beat Heat 101-81

Tavares scores winner on power play, Leafs beat Oilers 4-2

Tavares scores winner on power play, Leafs beat Oilers 4-2

David Shoemaker, chief executive officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee, speaks during the Olympic Partnership kick off event at the Sobey's office in Mississauga, Ont. on Monday, October 7, 2019. Shoemaker says the IOC remains committed to staging the Summer Games in Tokyo this summer.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
Canada’s Olympic athletes try to tune out reports six months from Games

Canada’s Olympic athletes try to tune out reports six months from Games

Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley lifts the Voyageurs Cup after beating Vancouver Whitecaps 5-2 to win the Canadian Championship Final in Toronto on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Forge FC-Toronto FC Canadian Championship final to be played before April 6

Forge FC-Toronto FC Canadian Championship final to be played before April 6

Canada's Penny Oleksiak reacts after her heat of the women's 50m butterfly at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, Friday, July 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lee Jin-man
Penny Oleksiak, Kylie Masse among six swimmers named early to Canadian Olympic team

Penny Oleksiak, Kylie Masse among six swimmers named early to Canadian Olympic team

Ontario skip Glenn Howard watches a rock as they play Newfoundland and Labrador in draw 15 action at the Tim Hortons Brier curling championship at Mile One Centre in St. John's on Thursday, March 9, 2017. Curling Canada has decided to use the national ranking system as its selection criteria for the final wild-card berths at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canadian rankings to be used to determine final wild-card spots at Scotties and Brier

Canadian rankings to be used to determine final wild-card spots at Scotties and Brier

Most Read