Airport Waiting for Funding News from Feds
Prince George, B.C.- There may be some good news arriving for the Prince George Airport in the weeks ahead.The airport is one of 6 National Airport Systems in the country which don’t qualify for federal dollars because of the current funding model which allows only those airports with more than 500 thousand passengers per year to access infrastructure funding.
The issue of access to federal dollars is critical to the Prince George Airport which continues to push the Federal Government for infrastructure funding . The YXS ten year capital plan calls for $50 to $60 million dollars in rehabilitation projects. This year alone, the Airport will be spending $6.5 million.
It is an issue Mayor Lyn Hall pressed during a visit to Ottawa, meeting with Transportation Ministry staff to talk about the matter “We’ve been battling this for a long time.” It is also an issue the Chamber of Commerce has pressed, passing a resolution calling for infrastructure funding for small airports.
Airport President and CEO John Gibson doesn’t want to jinx it, but in a presentation to Mayor and Council he expressed optimism the funding model will be changing “We are hopeful the work we have done with the Federal Government will turn that one around.” Gibson says a change is “Very, very close, and we should see what the (funding) program looks like by the end of June.
If we are just a 100 passengers a day from reaching the threshold for infrastructure funding than surely we can reach that goal? That’s just two flights a week on a large 747 to a foreign destination… most of which can increasingly not afford the landing fees at Vancouver.
Get one international airline to use our ‘longest runway’ as their Canadian hub and the goal is within reach. Add a direct daily flight PG-Edmonton-Saskatoon-Winnipeg into the mix and we could reach it that way as well.
I think a cheep airline like Philippine Air, or Malaysian Air with connections to large cities in Southeast Asia… with PG serving as a gateway hub should be the airport priority. Both airlines are sold out in Vancouver with no room for adding landing spots.
Combined with a PG-Edmonton-Saskatoon-Winnipeg flight and one would have direct access to 80% of the Canadian Filipino population VIA PG airport.
Or with Malaysian Air it would make sense if PG becomes the central hub for their $50-$60 Billion dollar government investments into Northern BC LNG…. and thus cement the city position as the service hub for Petronas in the coming years considering the large number of Malaysian nationals that would be needing direct flights to this region. At the same time try and sell Petronas on some prime land acquisitions for their operations before they create inflation by announcing any such investments… corner the market on Petronas locating in PG and everything else falls into place IMO.
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