Change is in the air at YYJ

Victoria Airport Authority offers details of its most recent master plan

New air carrier services are set to begin flying out of the Victoria International Airport this spring and summer, as the airport authority works hard to attract other route services — domestic and foreign —to its terminal.

To win and maintain those services, the Victoria Airport Authority has set into motion a 20-year master plan to upgrade and expand the terminal building, add more space on the tarmac for aircraft and expand its main runway.

That master plan has been the subject of two open house presentations, one in downtown Victoria earlier this month, the second at Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre March 19. Airport authority chief executive officer Geoff Dickson and director of marketing and community relations Terry Stewart led the presentation and answered questions from the audience.

In the short term — 2012 to 2016 — the authority has plans to extend its main runway 600 feet, split between the east and west ends of the airstrip.

With hopes to attract services to destinations further afield, Stewart said the runway needs to grow to be able to accommodate larger, long-haul aircraft.

“We had Boeing come to the airport and assess all of the fleets available and look at the airport’s needs,” he said.

That ended up being an additional 600 feet. Today, the plan is to do the $8.1 million expansion as early as 2016 and 2017, growing by 400 feet at the west end and 200 feet to the east.

As well Stewart noted the airport is 72 years old and the runway itself requires “considerable restoration.” To that end, the authority will work in a 3-inch pavement overlay project within that same short-term time frame, for a cost of approximately $7.5 million.

Already, the airport authority has started work on upgrades and changes in its terminal building. There will be expansions of pre-screening areas, new escalators and elevators, additional space for retail and food services after the security checkpoint and improvements to parking areas. These, too, are expected to occur between now and 2017 and cost around $8.1 million.

All of the short-term projects outlined in the master plan will cost an estimated $41.6 million. Over the medium and long term, which is planning out to the year 2031, the authority is estimating all of their improvement projects will cost nearly $162 million. The airport authority generates around $10 million in surplus revenue each year, which Dickson said is put into facility improvements and debt repayment. Stewart added that since the authority took over the operation of the airport in 1997, their investment has been around $100 million.

The authority also hopes to get some value out of leasing land surrounding the airport. The master plan shows potential growth areas in the West Sidney industrial and commercial areas, as well as two business park spaces — an existing area where the Thrifty Foods warehouse facility is currently located, and the other — a 38-acre site — in the south west. It’s not developed yet, but Stewart said they are looking for high-end technology and light industrial businesses to move in. This business park could open as early as 2014, but Stewart said it’s more likely to grow over the next five to eight years.

Questions from the audience ranged from types of retail offerings at the airport and traffic congestion at the terminal, to transit services and relationships with neighbouring communities.

The Victoria Airport Authority’s master plan is available on their website, victoriaairport.com/master-plan, as is a place where people and leave their comments.

Noise concerns from neighbours

As the Victoria International Airport grows over the next 20 years, its master plan indicated little in the way of corresponding noise growth.

Director of marketing and community relations Terry Stewart says there’s little increase in aircraft noise predicted between now to 2016. That’s due, in part, to advanced in aircraft technology that make the engines more quiet, and the fact that Victoria operates mainly during the day. The airport has overnight parking areas for aircraft, which will be expanded in the future.

With adding new services and aircraft, however, he noted there will be marginal increases in noise — not including military aircraft activity and the noise from an older jet operated by Purolator.

Other noise from the airport, such as bird control air cannons, still occurs and Stewart said they have made timing changes to try to disturb their neighbours a little less. He aded, however, safety is a top priority and the cannons will continue to be used to prevent bird strikes.

By the Numbers

• Air movements (flights) out of YYJ

– 138,000 (2011)

– 182,000 (est. by 2031)

– 218,500 (current capacity)

• Passenger traffic at YYJ

– 1.5 million (2011)

– 2.7% per year (estimated passenger growth to 2031)

– 81% domestic traffic at YYJ in 2011

– 17% transborder traffic (Canada-U.S.A.)

– 2% international traffic

• New services on the horizon

– WestJet regional service, Encore. Expected to sets flying out of Victoria by June 24, 2013.

– Air Canada Rouge, leisure-style services to Europe and the Caribbean via Toronto. Expected to start July 1, 2013.

• Opportunities ahead

– YYJ is trying to lure carrier services to other domestic markets, such as Ottawa, as well as destinations such as Los Angeles and other U.S. sites. There’s also work being done to attract seasonal services to Europe ore the next four to five years.

 

 

Just Posted

Driver convicted in death of Const. Sarah Beckett granted partial parole

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend an alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after fatal crash in Langford

Experts discuss sustainability and tourism in Victoria

IMPACT Sustainability Travel and Tourism Conference runs Jan. 21-23

Peninsula Chamber gears up for annual Tour of Industry

Event showcases local businesses, connects entrepreneurs during tour, luncheon

City of Victoria earmarks $90,000 for mayoral assistant

The new Head of Strategy and Operations would help with municipal duties

New childcare in Langford looking for toddlers and teachers

Willowbrae Academy puts an emphasis on healthy living habits

WATCH: Celebration of Life hosted for 29 Victoria trees set to be removed

Community Trees Matter Network hosting “goodbye and thank you” for trees on Fort Street

Suspect allegedly armed with handgun robs Island gas station

Incident occurred Sunday night in Nanaimo

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

Factors for increase in eagle cases can be anything from lead poisoning to vehicle strikes

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Most Read