Red Deer Regional Airport moving forward with potential expansion

Red Deer Regional Airport is moving ahead with its ambition to expand.

Last week, in the airport’s summer update, CEO Graham Ingham said they have completed the project planning phase, they are tender ready, and have submitted a formal request for funding to the provincial government.

He hopes the project can get underway later in 2020 or early 2021.

“The objective of the project is to make sure the airport is in the best possible position to take advantage of any significant business opportunities that may come our way,” said Ingham.

“Opportunities that are not only going to make the airport financially sustainable… but also to ensure the airport is in the best possible position to be that key economic driver that we know airports can be.”

Last month, Ingham explained that the long-term plan includes lengthening and strengthening its main runway to accommodate 737s and similar-sized aircraft.

Taxiway upgrades, including approach lighting, would also be part of the project, which could cost an estimated $30 million.

Earlier this summer, Ingham also pointed to big-box retailer Rona building a $120-million, 1.2-million-square-foot facility near the Calgary airport, as something the Red Deer airport can strive for.

It has nearly 200 acres of land available for development.

Nicole Holinaty, director of business development, marketing and communications, said the airport’s north side is the portion available for large infrastructure projects, such as cargo, manufacturing or maintenance facilities.

That potential development is directly tied to the request to the provincial government for funding. That funding, she explained, will help them be market ready and attract larger investments.

She said the south portion of the airport is open for commercial, retail and aviation space.

In the update, Ingham reported that the airport’s operating revenue is up six per cent and expenses are in line with the budgeted forecast.

Along with expansion plans, Ingham reported they completed the construction of the secondary runway 10 days early and slightly under budget.

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