BCAC Airports Workshop Media Release

Apr 29, 2015

British Columbia’s regional airports are flying high
The province’s industry leaders gather to discuss how infrastructure can keep pace with growth

April 29, 2015 (Kelowna, B.C.): Ensuring that regional airports can meet unprecedented demand in the province’s burgeoning aviation and aerospace industry is front and centre at the BC Aviation Council’s (BCAC) annual general meeting and workshop, occurring April 29 and 30 in Kelowna.

The event brings more than 90 industry leaders together to share best practices on how aviation infrastructure can keep pace with rapid growth.

“Aviation is critical to the economic health of this province,” said BCAC Chairman, Mark Duncan. “The industry generates revenues and creates jobs. Here in Kelowna, we are shining the spotlight on regional airports and their substantial growth, particularly over the past decade.”

B.C. is home to 13 per cent of Canada’s population yet handles a disproportionate 20 per cent of the country’s airport traffic. An increasing amount of this traffic is taking place at the province’s regional airports. For example, Kelowna International Airport is riding a 25-month run of record-breaking numbers; Fort St. John’s North Peace Regional Airport has nearly doubled its passenger numbers in the past three years; and Nanaimo Airport hit an all-time traffic high of more than 220,000 passengers in 2014.

“These increases indicate that flying is a preferred means of travel for both the people who live here and those who come for business and leisure,” said Duncan. “The dilemma many airports are now facing is how to build the infrastructure that ensures they can keep pace with growth and remain economic generators for their communities and the province as a whole.”

New or expanded terminal buildings at Northwest Regional Airport in Terrace-Kitimat and Smithers Regional Airport are in the planning stages, and advanced technology, such as high-intensity lighting and instrument landing systems, once reserved for major international airports, are now being implemented at some of B.C.’s regional airports, including Nanaimo. Once completed, this added infrastructure will allow airports to more conveniently and reliably serve airlines and their passengers.

“The economic impact of regional airports to the province is significant and that’s why we made airport infrastructure funding support a key part of our BC on the Move 10-year transportation plan, with $24 million over the next three years,” said Todd Stone, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “I commend the industry organization for bringing the infrastructure issue to the forefront, and I look forward to working with its airport members to support the growth and success of these important community assets.”

Steady growth has created a need for regional airports to keep pace with demand by building or expanding facilities and implementing new technology. Continued support for the province’s airports will continue the expansion and innovation of aviation in B.C.

About BCAC

The British Columbia Aviation Council, established in 1938, is a member‐driven organization that represents and promotes the shared interests of the aviation community. It is a charitable society established under the Society Act and annually awards over $15,000 in scholarships to students pursuing careers in aviation and aerospace. Our vision is an aviation and aerospace industry that is visible, connected, and thriving.

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Media Contact

Rebecca Catley
Director, BCAC
+1 604 375 7326



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