Region's airport readies to expand by 2 million passengers a year

News Mar 31, 2017 by Samantha Beattie Kitchener Post

Growth is on the horizon for YKF, Region of Waterloo’s international airport.

A new master plan outlines an expansion to accommodate more than two million passengers, attract commercial airlines and add more flights.

Rolled out in five phases over the course of 20 years, the plan's capital cost will be, at the most, half a billion dollars. Half of the capital costs will be covered by the region and half will come from other sources, such as private partnerships and federal and provincial grants and subsidies. The current airport cost to taxpayers of $23 per household will remain the same, or lower.

“Air passenger demand has increased and grown dramatically,” Rod Regier, region planning commission. “YKF has the opportunity to serve the community much better.”

In the airport’s 35-kilometre catchment area, there are about two million airline passengers a year, he said. Of those, it services only about 128,000.

But the old idea of “build it and they’ll come” doesn’t work anymore, so the region will be rolling out the master plan in stages, as funding becomes available and the airport gets busier.

Stage 1 outlined in the master plan includes finding funding partnerships, designing future extensions and upgrades and reviewing connectivity between the airport and nearby Go Transit stations.

When the airport reaches 250,000 passengers annually — about four Boeing 737 flights daily — the region will begin Stage 2, extending some runways and constructing a terminal for up to 500,000 passengers.

“The master plan is completely contingent on air service,” said Regier. “If passenger numbers don’t exceed the target, we won’t proceed.”

To get from Stage 1 to Stage 2 could take anywhere from 24 months to five years, or longer, he said.

Stage 3 will take place when the airport services half a million passengers annually.

That will include construction of Shantz Station Road, more runway extensions and a terminal building to service up to one million passengers.

Stages 4 and 5 will begin when one million and 1.5 million passengers a year, respectively, use the airport. During Stage 5, the region will build capacity for 2.5 million passengers a year.

The master plan also lays out how the airport will “be a good neighbour,” said Chris Wood, airport general manager. There will be ongoing improvements to enhance safety and reliability, mitigate noise, update zoning for runways and conduct environmental assessments.

A key part of the airport’s success is attracting airlines and new passengers.

The region’s branding strategy will be to send the message the “airport is an easy experience and a way for customers to access the global economy quickly,” said Matthew Chandy, manager of economic development.

The region will be going after startup carriers by offering competitive rates and better infrastructure.

“That’s why we’re seeking growth through expanding our terminal capacity, runway and gates,” Chandy said.

Coun. Geoff Lorentz said an expanded airport will benefit local businesses that currently use Toronto Pearson International Airport.

“We have a valuable asset here, so we need to entice some kind of airline, even if it’s a startup,” Lorentz said, adding a startup would fit well into Waterloo Region.

“We are used to dealing with startups,” he said. “Our whole community is startups.”

The master plan goes to council for approval in the coming weeks.

Region's airport readies to expand by 2 million passengers a year

News Mar 31, 2017 by Samantha Beattie Kitchener Post

Growth is on the horizon for YKF, Region of Waterloo’s international airport.

A new master plan outlines an expansion to accommodate more than two million passengers, attract commercial airlines and add more flights.

Rolled out in five phases over the course of 20 years, the plan's capital cost will be, at the most, half a billion dollars. Half of the capital costs will be covered by the region and half will come from other sources, such as private partnerships and federal and provincial grants and subsidies. The current airport cost to taxpayers of $23 per household will remain the same, or lower.

“Air passenger demand has increased and grown dramatically,” Rod Regier, region planning commission. “YKF has the opportunity to serve the community much better.”

In the airport’s 35-kilometre catchment area, there are about two million airline passengers a year, he said. Of those, it services only about 128,000.

But the old idea of “build it and they’ll come” doesn’t work anymore, so the region will be rolling out the master plan in stages, as funding becomes available and the airport gets busier.

Stage 1 outlined in the master plan includes finding funding partnerships, designing future extensions and upgrades and reviewing connectivity between the airport and nearby Go Transit stations.

When the airport reaches 250,000 passengers annually — about four Boeing 737 flights daily — the region will begin Stage 2, extending some runways and constructing a terminal for up to 500,000 passengers.

“The master plan is completely contingent on air service,” said Regier. “If passenger numbers don’t exceed the target, we won’t proceed.”

To get from Stage 1 to Stage 2 could take anywhere from 24 months to five years, or longer, he said.

Stage 3 will take place when the airport services half a million passengers annually.

That will include construction of Shantz Station Road, more runway extensions and a terminal building to service up to one million passengers.

Stages 4 and 5 will begin when one million and 1.5 million passengers a year, respectively, use the airport. During Stage 5, the region will build capacity for 2.5 million passengers a year.

The master plan also lays out how the airport will “be a good neighbour,” said Chris Wood, airport general manager. There will be ongoing improvements to enhance safety and reliability, mitigate noise, update zoning for runways and conduct environmental assessments.

A key part of the airport’s success is attracting airlines and new passengers.

The region’s branding strategy will be to send the message the “airport is an easy experience and a way for customers to access the global economy quickly,” said Matthew Chandy, manager of economic development.

The region will be going after startup carriers by offering competitive rates and better infrastructure.

“That’s why we’re seeking growth through expanding our terminal capacity, runway and gates,” Chandy said.

Coun. Geoff Lorentz said an expanded airport will benefit local businesses that currently use Toronto Pearson International Airport.

“We have a valuable asset here, so we need to entice some kind of airline, even if it’s a startup,” Lorentz said, adding a startup would fit well into Waterloo Region.

“We are used to dealing with startups,” he said. “Our whole community is startups.”

The master plan goes to council for approval in the coming weeks.

Region's airport readies to expand by 2 million passengers a year

News Mar 31, 2017 by Samantha Beattie Kitchener Post

Growth is on the horizon for YKF, Region of Waterloo’s international airport.

A new master plan outlines an expansion to accommodate more than two million passengers, attract commercial airlines and add more flights.

Rolled out in five phases over the course of 20 years, the plan's capital cost will be, at the most, half a billion dollars. Half of the capital costs will be covered by the region and half will come from other sources, such as private partnerships and federal and provincial grants and subsidies. The current airport cost to taxpayers of $23 per household will remain the same, or lower.

“Air passenger demand has increased and grown dramatically,” Rod Regier, region planning commission. “YKF has the opportunity to serve the community much better.”

In the airport’s 35-kilometre catchment area, there are about two million airline passengers a year, he said. Of those, it services only about 128,000.

But the old idea of “build it and they’ll come” doesn’t work anymore, so the region will be rolling out the master plan in stages, as funding becomes available and the airport gets busier.

Stage 1 outlined in the master plan includes finding funding partnerships, designing future extensions and upgrades and reviewing connectivity between the airport and nearby Go Transit stations.

When the airport reaches 250,000 passengers annually — about four Boeing 737 flights daily — the region will begin Stage 2, extending some runways and constructing a terminal for up to 500,000 passengers.

“The master plan is completely contingent on air service,” said Regier. “If passenger numbers don’t exceed the target, we won’t proceed.”

To get from Stage 1 to Stage 2 could take anywhere from 24 months to five years, or longer, he said.

Stage 3 will take place when the airport services half a million passengers annually.

That will include construction of Shantz Station Road, more runway extensions and a terminal building to service up to one million passengers.

Stages 4 and 5 will begin when one million and 1.5 million passengers a year, respectively, use the airport. During Stage 5, the region will build capacity for 2.5 million passengers a year.

The master plan also lays out how the airport will “be a good neighbour,” said Chris Wood, airport general manager. There will be ongoing improvements to enhance safety and reliability, mitigate noise, update zoning for runways and conduct environmental assessments.

A key part of the airport’s success is attracting airlines and new passengers.

The region’s branding strategy will be to send the message the “airport is an easy experience and a way for customers to access the global economy quickly,” said Matthew Chandy, manager of economic development.

The region will be going after startup carriers by offering competitive rates and better infrastructure.

“That’s why we’re seeking growth through expanding our terminal capacity, runway and gates,” Chandy said.

Coun. Geoff Lorentz said an expanded airport will benefit local businesses that currently use Toronto Pearson International Airport.

“We have a valuable asset here, so we need to entice some kind of airline, even if it’s a startup,” Lorentz said, adding a startup would fit well into Waterloo Region.

“We are used to dealing with startups,” he said. “Our whole community is startups.”

The master plan goes to council for approval in the coming weeks.