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Niagara Falls
Saturday, February 4, 2023
Niagara District Airport inching closer to finding third-party operator

The Niagara District Airport is getting closer to finding a private third-party operator, says executive director Dan Pilon.

While he couldn’t discuss details because the request for proposals is still being reviewed, he said the request has been closed.

“It’s in the midst of the review and all of the items that come along with the review of the RFP. So there’s really ongoing procurements from a municipal perspective,” he said last week.

“The RFP was released last year, it closed before the end of the year and from a timeline perspective, I would expect in kind of Q1, Q2 of this year for information to be coming back to the various municipal councils in some way, shape or form.”

Pilon said having a third-party operator for an airport is commonplace in Canada.

“There’s numerous airports throughout Ontario, throughout Canada, that are often operated not by a municipality, but are therefore operated by private sector organizations,” he said.

“From a local perspective, if you take a look at some of the closest scenarios that we have, Waterloo is operated by the regional municipality, so it’s operated directly by municipal government,” he said.

“You could look at (Hamilton), which would be the next closest one, which is owned municipally but operated by a private sector entity.”

Ontario has a large mix of airports and “they’re all operated differently,” Pilon said.

Now, the airport is operated by a board, on behalf of its three municipal partners, Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.

The land on which the airport operates is owned by Niagara-on-the-Lake and Pilon said “the RFP in and of itself doesn’t reference a scenario where that land is looking to be sold.”

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