Red Deer Regional Airport expansion set to take off
Government officials say this investment in Alberta’s aerospace industry is helping the province further diversify the economy and create more jobs, growth and prosperity. The industry employed more than 71,000 people in 2020 and continues to grow, thanks in part to Alberta’s stimulus package, government officials say.
“The aviation sector is a critical part of Alberta’s recovery plan and this project will provide a major boost to the economy of Red Deer and central Alberta. This airport funding will attract more investment and new opportunities for residents and businesses,” added Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Transport.
“My optimism for economic opportunities in central Alberta is growing through this commitment to our airport. We will be able to diversify our economy while creating well-paying jobs and tourism potential,” said Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education and Member of Parliament for Red Deer-North.
“Alberta is an economic powerhouse and Red Deer Airport is strategically centered in the dynamic Calgary-Edmonton corridor. This investment will allow our airport to capitalize on its natural competitive advantages as Alberta and Central Alberta prosper and grow,” said Jason Stephan, MPP for Red Deer South.
“Being able to develop the airport’s rich history will improve economic opportunities in the region, attract investment and put people back to work. This grant shows everyone that central Alberta is a key contributor to our economic recovery,” said Devin Dreeshen, MPP for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.
“Now more than ever, aviation and aviation-related businesses are actively seeking alternatives to the ever-increasing costs associated with operating from large airports. With low rental rates, free parking and no fees airport improvements, Red Deer Regional Airport is well positioned for future growth,” said Garett Cupples, Chairman of the Red Deer Regional Airport Board of Directors.
Graham Ingham, CEO of Red Deer Regional Airport, says there is currently a lot of interest from low-cost carriers for flights to and from Red Deer.
“Red Deer is just a great airport for this type of business. It’s very efficient, fast in and out, with low user fees, so it fits that business model really well.
Ingham also points to much of the land available for development at the northern end of the airport property.
“Our 800,000 square meters that we have, we’re looking at a variety of opportunities like cargo, heavy aircraft maintenance and repair, that sort of thing.”
Ingham says his goal now is to put agreements in place with some low-cost carriers so work can begin on building the terminal.
“We hope to be done this fall and start fighting as early as mid-November,” Ingham said. “The days of having to go back and forth between Edmonton and Calgary are hopefully a thing of the past. There are simply huge opportunities to support local tourism and we want to contribute to economic diversification whenever we can.
“This expansion will bring tremendous economic benefits to central Alberta. Red Deer County appreciates this important investment from the Government of Alberta and its continued commitment to building economic prosperity,” said Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood.
“The Red Deer Regional Airport is a regional facility serving all of Alberta. This investment translates not only into the potential for increased passenger numbers, revenue and regional economic development, but also into opportunities for job creation at a time when the economy and the travel industry are in dire straits. most needed,” said Ken Johnston, Mayor of the City of Red Deer.
- Tenders will be launched this month. Work is expected to begin this spring and be completed in fall 2022.
- Airport improvements include widening the main runway from 30 to 45 meters, strengthening existing taxiways and aprons, and constructing a terminal building to support low-cost passenger services.
- The total projected cost of the airport expansion is $18 million, including $7.5 million from the Government of Alberta.
- Alberta’s aviation, aerospace and logistics industries employed nearly 71,000 people in 2020. These industries contributed $7.2 billion to the province’s GDP in 2020.
- Alberta’s aerospace industry ranks third in Canada by company size, fourth by number of companies, and fourth by contribution to aerospace and defense GDP.
- The Government of Alberta established the Strategic Aviation Advisory Council in 2020 to provide expert advice to government on how aviation and aerospace can increase economic development opportunities, expand markets and create jobs in the province.
- Expansion of the aviation sector is a key objective of Alberta’s recovery plan.
Three Alberta-based low-cost carriers – recently created Lynx Air, as well as new routes added by Swoop and Flair Airlines – are described as strong signs of the growth of the province’s aviation industry.