A small plane prepares for take-off at Red Deer Airport. (Advocate file photo).

Red Deer Airport seeks more municipal dollars to balance budget

Revenues affected by loss of passenger service, oilfield slump

With the oilfield downturn and the loss of passenger air service, Red Deer Airport will run a deficit if city council doesn’t approve an additional $118,000 budget contribution, says the CEO.

The spending is not being recommended by Red Deer city administration, which has been toeing the austerity line to keep this year’s tax increase to no more than 2.5 per cent to support the city’s 2019 operating budget.

At budget discussions on Tuesday, city manager Craig Curtis said council had already pre-approved a $255,000 city contribution toward the airport’s operating budget — which is up 50 per cent from the $180,000 granted the previous year.

Curtis did not feel the City of Red Deer could rationalize giving the airport an additional $118,000 — although this same amount was approved by Red Deer County.

“We had already significantly increased the budget at a time when they’d lost Air Canada passenger service,” said Curtis. “I felt there were some areas in which their costs could go down.”

Airport CEO Graham Ingham, who’s in discussions to get ultra low-cost passenger service established at the airport, said he’s been reducing as many expenditures as possible. But many airport costs don’t fluctuate, despite revenues being down from the loss of oilfield-related air traffic and the suspension of service by Air Canada, he added. Among them is the hiring of a new safety and security manager.

If Red Deer city council does not approve the additional airport funding during ongoing budget deliberations, Ingham said the airport will run an $118,000 deficit until revenues pick up from passenger service starting up again, or the economy turning around.

He’s grateful for the support he gets from the county and the city — as well as the revenues that are still coming in from land and space rentals at the airport.

“I believe when one door closes another opens,” added Ingham, who remains “very confident” that passenger service will be available again soon.

In the meantime, he’s planning fundraisers to help pay for a “modest” apron and terminal expansion that Ingham hopes to get underway this year, with a six-month construction timeline. He said these are needed to attract a low-cost carrier.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sport of axe throwing growing in Red Deer

True North Axe Throwing wants sport to be ‘Canadian version of darts’

Optimism remains for Red Deer hospital expansion

Red Deer’s incoming UCP MLAs both have been strong supporters of expansion

RDC cancels championship-winning golf program due to tight finances

Short season, small number of student golfers were also considerations

Fire investigators comb through industrial fire wreckage looking for answers

Industrial building in north Red Deer was completely gutted in Wednesday morning fire

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place mall made sure Red Deer families were able to have… Continue reading

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

PARIS — A “computer glitch” may have been behind the fast-spreading fire… Continue reading

Former journalist pleads guilty to robbing two banks in Medicine Hat

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A former journalist arrested almost two years ago… Continue reading

Austria fears for three top climbers missing in Banff National Park

BERLIN — Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Friday his thoughts are with… Continue reading

As Vancouver fights over 4-20, Seattle’s Hempfest enjoys tolerance, some support

VANCOUVER — They both came from humble beginnings: small protests against marijuana… Continue reading

All eyes on the surging Greens as Prince Edward Island goes to the polls

After a brief provincial election campaign devoid of drama, voters on Prince… Continue reading

North Dakota company where 4 were slain seeks normalcy

MANDAN, N.D. — Camaraderie was so important for the “coffee club” at… Continue reading

Trump blasts ex-advisers who say he tried to stop Mueller

WASHINGTON — A day after celebrating the release of the Mueller report… Continue reading

Sanders claims she didn’t lie, despite Mueller finding

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s spokeswoman Sarah Sanders pushed back Friday against… Continue reading

Most Read