The Prince George Airport will be getting $3.1 million from the federal government through two funding streams.
The federal Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra announced today that the Government of Canada is investing more than $1.7 million in the Prince George Airport through Transport Canada’s Airport Relief Fund.
This fund provides financial relief to a number of Canadian airports that are struggling with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It provides immediate assistance directly to airports so that they can keep operating safely for the communities they serve.
During a visit to YXS, Alghabra said this funding will help YXS maintain important airport operations and essential air services for residents and workers in Prince George and surrounding communities.
The Prince George Airport also received over $1.4 million from Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program for the purchase of a 4x4 snowplow truck and a wet/dry material spreader.
This equipment is to help the airport maintain safe operations for aircraft, passengers, crews and airport workers by keeping runways and taxiways clear of snow and ice.
The funding will also support the expansion of a shelter to house and protect the airport’s aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicle from the elements, ensuring it is ready for immediate use in case of an emergency.
“We know the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the global air sector and here in Canada but despite these challenges airports including this one continue to provide air services for regional communities to ensure they maintain their connection with the rest of Canada,” said Alghabra.
“As Canadians start to travel again the air sector is working even harder to ensure the best travel experience as possible for travels. You have helped keep families connected and ensure that critical goods are moving across Canada safely and securely.”
He said keeping airports well maintained is not easy and smaller airports, in particular, can struggle to raise enough revenue which was compounded by COVID-19.
“From coast to coast-to-coast Canadians rely on safe and well-maintained local and regional airports. They support vibrant communities and provide essential services and the funding I just announced will help ensure this airport will continue to provide safe and reliable travel options and we look ahead toward further economic recovery.”
These investments are in addition to the over $1.4 million in Airports Capital Assistance Program funding provided to the airport in May 2021 for the purchase of an aircraft rescue firefighting vehicle and a runway ice sweeper.
“We are incredibly grateful to the funding we have been awarded through both the airport relief fund and transport Canada’s airport capital assistance program,” said Prince George Airport Authority President and CEO Gordon Duke.
“Through the pandemic, the Prince George airport has stayed open to provide essential services for Prince George and the surrounding communities.”
He said this included moving essential travelers to and from workplaces, crucial medi-vac flights, and support for the forestry fire fighting operations that go on every summer.
“This was possible through funding and support from Transport Canada and varying levels of government. As the minister mentioned the funding announced today will go towards continuing to maintain our safe and efficient operations here at YXS,” added Duke.
“Safety is paramount at our airport and this equipment is paramount to ensure that our airfield stays clear and ready for aircraft operations during the winter months and further ensures that our AARF trucks are ready to go if an emergency arises.”
He said funding initiatives like these ensure the airport can provide these essential services, schedule fights, and drive economic growth in the region.
The PGAA has seen an increase in passengers over the last few months with 35, 365 passengers using the airport in June which is still fewer than the pre-pandemic level of f 41,000 passengers per month in the second quarter, but significantly more than the 28,621 passengers who used the airport at the beginning of the quarter in April.