Prince George’s airport is among nine in northern B.C. that will receive $3.6 million in funding for upgrades as part of the province's economic recovery plan and B.C. Air Access Program grants.
With severe impacts on travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the province partnered with 27 regional airports and the federal government to develop a co-ordinated approach to support the sector.
The $9.28 million in total funding is aimed to enhance local airport infrastructure with initiatives like upgraded taxi lanes, new airside paving and green building projects around the province.
"We know the pandemic has caused financial stress for many industries and significantly impacted our aviation sector throughout B.C., including our community airports," said Rob Fleming, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, in a news release this morning (March 18).
"But we're also looking to better days ahead, post-pandemic. That's why we're taking action to support communities with important infrastructure upgrades so we can boost jobs, tourism and trade that will give us a head start with B.C.'s economic recovery."
The nine projects approved or funding upgrades in northern B.C. include:
- Atlin Airport - $445,460
- Kitimat Air Park - $822,913
- Mackenzie Airport - $127,500
- McBride (Charlie Leake) Airport - $401,687
- Northern Rockies Airport (Fort Nelson) - $163,726
- Prince George Airport (Project 1) - $299,250
- Prince George Airport (Project 2) - $196,500
- Tumbler Ridge Airport - $326,250
- Vanderhoof Airport - $490,083
"This year has presented challenges for all of us, but this funding will make essential improvements possible for our airport at a time when we need it most," said Gordon Duke, president and CEO, Prince George Airport Authority.
"Creating safe travel to and from our northern communities is vital for our economic recovery, and that's something we can all look forward to."
The B.C. Air Access Program, now in its seventh year, is a cost-share program that provides funding to assist communities with improvements to their airport infrastructure that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to achieve.
This can include funds to support safety improvements, increase economic opportunities and address environmental concerns.
"In the North, we rely on our community airports to connect us to the world and critical life-saving services," said Nathan Cullen, MLA for Stikine.
"Because of our government's support, Atlin Airport's fuel system will be modernized, Kitimat Air Park will get vital runway improvements and Prince George Airport will be able to install important regulatory signage. These critical investments will make travel safer and provide much-needed updates to vital transportation routes for the North."
B.C. has more than 300 public airports, heliports and water aerodromes. Through the grant program, government has committed over $32.5 million to 51 airports since 2017. Applicants are assessed based on need, safety, environmental improvements and essential access.
This funding is in addition to the Province's recent announcement of $16.5 million for airports that provide medical evacuation services, to help maintain their operations.