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Friday, December 9, 2022
Niagara District Airport looks to generate sky high revenue

The Niagara District Airport and nine other surrounding airports are getting ready to take on the excess capacity of Pearson airport.

Pearson is expected to reach capacity by 2032 and the Niagara District Airport is asking for an increase of funding to $23,915 help with its proposed projects.

“What is it we can do?” asked Robin Garrett, citizen representative.

She said there is a demand for private parking for planes, so they’d like to construct more hangars to help generate revenue.

“So if we can get more hangar space we can get more tenants,” she said.

Garrett also says there is a shortage of pilots worldwide and the airport currently has a flight school on premisis so they would like to take advantage of that.

“We have an aviation program we announced with the Niagara Catholic board that we’re starting in 2019,” said Dan Pilon, interim chief executive office. “Also, the shortage of pilots leads us to thinking outside the norms of how can we get young folks into the industry.”

The airport has two aprons, three runways and four taxiways and it has 14 businesses that run out of the airport, according to Pilon.

There are some major opportunities the airport can do to generate more traffic and revenue for NOTL, said Garrett.

She said tourism is one of the worlds largest and fastest growing industries, growing at an average rate of four per cent per year. 

Access and connectivity is a critical success factor and that partnerships and investments can help increase the regions power as a tourist hotspot.

The plan is to shift from a small municipally run airport to a larger regional airport that offers scheduled passenger and VIP services for its customers. Currently, the airport only offers private and seasonal flights.

Niagara Region is the only tourist destination without a local airport to access it and by expanding the airports services, it would allow businesses and tourists to connect directly to the region.

To do this, the airport would like to maximize the size of their runway. However, the largest plane that could fit is a Q400 which is about 70 seats, said Garrett.

Last year, there was an increase in jet and passenger traffic which led to a 13 per cent increase in ancillary revenues, which come from aircraft parking, landing and terminal fees, said Pilon.

According to Pilon, the goal is to grow 15 per cent over the length of this strategy.

To do this, they’d like to add scheduled services, construct new hangars, offer VIP airside service and engage partners for promotion and strive for organizational excellence.

There has been a 32 per cent increase of jet traffic in 2018 as well as 30 per cent increase in passenger traffic for FlyGTA.

The airport is also requesting funding from Niagara Falls and St. Catharines.