PARTNERSHIP - From left

Province announces $6 million in funding for airport

  • Oct. 14, 2015 3:35 p.m.

An announcement was made at the Red Deer Airport this week where Municipal Affairs Minister Deron Bilous revealed a total of $6 million will be given over three years to support the airport’s expansion needs.

A partnership between the City of Red Deer, Red Deer County, the Red Deer Airport Authority and the Government of Alberta has made this expansion project a reality. In July this year, Mayor Veer had announced that a funding application was unsuccessful for the same project.

Each year for three years, $2 million will be provided from the Alberta Government to support the expansion of the Red Deer Airport runway. This project allows for larger commercial planes to access the area, and broaden the service of the airport.

“The funding from the Alberta Community Partnership (ACP) program recognizes the long-term economic benefits of the airport expansion and effective collaboration that will strengthen the region,” said Bilous.

“The ACP program is dedicated to enhancing regional services and the airport is integral to the community at large as well as this region’s continued economic development. The expansion will provide the airport with the ability to accommodate larger aircraft and expand passenger and commercial service. This positive economic impact is impressive. Just one 737 landing daily would generate $600,000 in annual revenue, 16 jobs, and $950,000 in direct annual wages.”

According to Bilous, the Red Deer Airport is one of the fastest expanding airports in Canada. The expansion project will see the major runway expanded in length by nearly 2000 ft., and 150 ft. in width.

“The Province of Alberta is excited to be partnering with the County, City and Airport Authority for this expansion. Quite frankly, it will lead to more economic diversification, which is a priority of our government. It will create jobs and strengthen and improve one of the fastest growing airports in Canada,” Bilous said.

“We know the runway will be expanded so the airport could allow for new carriers to come in. We’re expanding the capacity of the airport, for passenger and commercial planes, which will create many jobs and lead to a significant increase in economic development.”

It was an exciting day for CEO of the Red Deer Airport Authority RJ Steenstra, who said he has been looking forward to this milestone announcement.

“Today with the announcement from Minister Bilous, we make another and significant milestone – I might suggest the most significant to date. This runway extension is a key part of the airport and region as it will provide us with the ongoing ability to serve the public, generate jobs and provide enhanced economic prosperity for the citizens and businesses that call Red Deer and Central Alberta home,” Steenstra said.

“I am feeling tremendous excitement. A lot of things had to come before this announcement, so we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to really grow this airport. We really want to serve the needs of Central Alberta citizens and businesses. We’re just thrilled.”

Steenstra said the partnerships are currently engaged in a design process with an engineering firm and will be going to a Public Request for Proposal (RFP) on the construction in February. He said the construction would commence in April.

“This funding is a key that unlocks the airport from limitations. The ability for us to land large aircraft here opens a tremendous amount of possibility for the immediate community and other Central Alberta communities,” he said.

kmendonsa@reddeerexpress.com

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