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Ask Reg - Responses from the Thursday thread (3 posts)

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  • Ask Reg - Responses from the Thursday thread (3 posts)

    Hello all. Thanks for your excellent questions thus far. I am still working on responses and should have them all completed shortly.

    1. AAAE: When will detailed interior and exterior renderings of the terminal extension be released?
    etownboarder: I am wondering if you might be able to tell us when we might be able to see, or provide for us directly, the most recent renderings of the new airport expansion. It is my understanding that a few things have changed in the overall design, and I would love to see what these changes might look like.

    Right now our communications team is building an Expansion 2012 microsite, which will provide more detailed information. The microsite will also update construction progress and have other information as the project develops.

    Our engineering and projects departments are still working to finalize the exact layouts of the expansion. They continue to get input from our operational folks and are value engineering to identify cost efficiencies. Therefore, they are cautious about releasing info because it will continue to evolve for some time. Attached is one of the conceptual drawings of the exterior.

    2. Vne: I was recently at your Cooking Lake facility and was surprised to find over coffee the General Aviation Managers position is being eliminated. I was also surprised to find it appears that the general aviation functions are being dispersed to other departments rather than having a department dealing with general aviation. In effect...elimination of the department. From that visit I was perplexed to be informed many feel that the "Owners Assocation", for lack of a better term, feels they are being pushed to take over the facility. This and other factors surrounding general aviation has many feeling that you are eliminating general aviation from the fold of your operations. Others take it that it shows Edmonton is closed for business except at the International Airport. Now this all comes from coffee talk so I would appreciate if you could correct any errors.

    With effectively no general aviation department what are you doing to serve these operations, which are very different that the major service at the International?

    Is the intent to provide better services and increased opportunity to general aviation in the immediate future or is the concentration going to remain on only serving the INternational.

    Please advise on what current efforts/growth is currently in progress as it affects general aviation? (hardware..facilities repairs growth) Or is it all still in planning progress?

    Thanks for asking this question directly, because I did hear some interpretation about the manager’s position that was troubling. The general aviation department hasn’t been eliminated; general aviation will always be one of our core businesses.

    Our general aviation manager will be transitioning to leave the airport. He has been with us for many years and I know has been ‘our face’ for GA. His departure will create some changes, but they are not the only reason that we have made changes to GA. (And we do this with many business units as we believe we can find even better ways of organizing and doing business. It’s not specific to GA or a reflection of a lack of interest and support.)

    In the past, land development at our GA airports had been handled by the general aviation department, but over the past year or two, as we developed a land development group, they assumed more of the development duties for all of our business units simply because that’s where our internal expertise is. So nothing new with our manager’s departure.

    Actual airfield operations are and will still be under the purview of the manager of airside operations. Again, nothing changes with our manager’s departure.

    In terms of Cooking Lake, we have talked with the association about a new ownership and operating model going forward, and this includes consideration from the county as well. We have not established a timeline for this process.

    We continue to invest in general aviation. For example, over the last couple of years, we repaved Villeneuve’s runways; this year we are paving a taxiway, and Villeneuve will also have non non-precision GPS approaches by the end of this year when we expect them to be published by NAV CANADA.

    There are changes in general aviation, but this is not a sign of our disinterest; like all of our business units, we expect to continually evolve our management to be adding value.

    3. FrozenOrca: The discussion here around airports has me very interested in taking pilot lessons. I have read talks about the Villeneuve airport here so I decided to check it out and I found a very quaint spot full of open space for development. It looks like a place with all the facilities needed but it is quiet and crying out to be used. I read your document on a transition plan and it seemed to be quite small for Villeneuve in terms of hangar and airside development so that new fliers like what I hope to be have a place to eventually store our planes when I can afford one. Is there a bigger plan for Villeneuve in the works or what we see is what we get?

    As stated above, we are indeed making investments in Villeneuve and growing general aviation remains a priority for Edmonton Airports. And there are plans for further development. For Villeneuve, the plan consists of both larger hangars and affordable T-hangar development.

    However, there are currently constraints. Of the 1,400 acres of land at Villeneuve, 160 acres are available for development of the business park and about 35-50 acres for aviation. We have 20 lots available now as part of that. However, in order to develop further, we need to continue working with the Sturgeon County on utility development. Currently, water is trucked in and held in a reservoir. To expand and develop further, water and sewer access need to be developed.

    Just yesterday we had a good meeting with the mayors of Sturgeon, Parkland, Morninville and Edmonton to discuss the opportunity for further development.

    4. edmontonenthusiast: Many people who support the City Centre Airport to stay open do because they like the luxury of private jets, and in my opinion could care less about how their private jets are halting downtown/area development and more. So, as a compromise, would you be open to opening a private airfield near the international or on the outskirts, at least 10km from the downtown for the people who still want their private jets? Also if the Muni closes, do you guys think you'll loose money overall? Thank you so much for responding!

    Hi again. First, just a note of interest that while some folks choose to operate private jets out of City Centre, there are also private jets operating out of the International.

    On to the question: there are lots of runways in the area, so I don’t think that’s the issue. And in the scenario you describe, I don’t think there would be an advantage to those operating private jets. Even now, if a private jet lands at City Centre vs. the International and the passenger is headed downtown, that’s a difference of maybe 15 minutes. So even with the new airfield you describe there would still be that difference.

    In terms of losing money, although GA is one of our core businesses, it’s not a revenue driver. For example, about half of the aircraft movements at City Centre Airport don’t pay aeronautical fees at all. And, about $35 million is required for investment at City Centre over the next 10 years.

    Kcantor: several of the questions and answers to date however have mentioned 750,000 people driving to yyc every year. is that a typo being carried forward in error or is my math and conclusions out? 750,000 is more than 2,000 passengers per day and even at 2 passengers per car as far as i can determine that would account for more than 5% of all passenger car traffic between edmonton and calgary. furthermore, if 1,000 cars per day are assumed to be driving to calgary and one were to assume that the average trip being taken would be five days in length (probably low as there can't be that many one or two day trips that would justify the drive down), then at any one time there would be 5,000 cars from edmonton parked at yyc. i don't know how many park 'n fly or park and jet stalls they have but yyc itself doesn't have 5,000 parking stalls in total including both its discount parking weekly lots and its parkade. is the real number perhaps closer to 75,000 than 750,000 (which would seem to make more sense)? personally, i would never drive to yyc instead of using yeg and will actually take more time or adjust my travel dates to do that or to connect anywhere but through yyc if at all possible. although i'm sure some don't care that much one way or the other, i can't see how driving to calgary could be that much more advantageous for that many...

    The number IS 750,000! Now, the good news on that very big number is that it has come down to 750,000 from significantly higher levels. Over 20% of all tickets sold in Edmonton Region travel agencies are for flights originating from Calgary, down from close to 30% just a few years ago. So, while we are making progress we have some way to go! The majority of these travellers are the most price sensitive (so likely more families, and peaking in tourist seasons rather than spread out evenly). This means they will be absorbed not just by Calgary airport's economy, but also off-site parking operators and local hotels/motels.

    There are also many businesses in Edmonton that have not yet adopted the Fly Edmonton First travel policy; with more companies adopting such a policy, it would be a big contributor to gaining back a piece of that pie.

    codeman9669: With the expansion being planned, will the Canadian Customs area be moving or expanded? I must admit, welcoming visitors to our country (and welcoming us Canadians back home) in the current Canadian Customs area is a little underwhelming, to say the least. Canada is a country of wide open spaces…yet the customs area seems like it’s crammed into a little basement with low ceilings. (Compare this to Vancouver, with its high open ceilings, grand water feature as you descend the stairs, etc…and it becomes quickly apparent how underwhelming our area is.) Now, I certainly understand that we see no where near the number of international/transborder passengers to be processed as Vancouver; however, we should definitely aspire to be more! with the terminal expansion, is the plan still to have all security processing at Central Hall (which really won’t be all that central anymore…), or are there plans to open an additional security checkpoint somewhere in the south terminal?

    Even though $1 billion is a lot of money, it does not get us waterfalls, aquariums and the like. I agree that we need to integrate a great welcome to Edmonton, and Canada for that matter, and I talked in an earlier thread about some of the partnership projects that we’re working on to do that.

    Just on to the nuts and bolts, the present concept for the arrival into Canada Customs is to move it and enhance the area. Being that there is a longer walk with moving sidewalks, a feature is planned to break up that distance and to make the walk more interesting for passengers, and to improve their arrival into Canada Customs.

    As far as centralized security, we have two locations now, and will continue to have two locations. There are plans to increase the size in the present domestic/international location as we have the ability to grow it from today’s seven lines, to 11 lines. Being that the majority of the expansion is for transborder flights, that preboard screening area will be moved and room has been made for seven lines – presently there are three.

    els: I have noticed UAX has drastically cut back SFO service to two flights into the summer with no late night arrival to YEG and early moring departure from YEG. From what I understand from their schedule, UAX is avoiding having their crews to stay overnight in Edmonton. It was not as convenient as before but I am not too concern as long as they have a service between the 2 cities. However, comparing to service between YYC and SFO, their schedule into the summer is still showing 4 UAX daily flights and 2 AC flights on E90. No cut back of service at all. Don't you think YYC is being overflooded with these empty seats to SFO? Honestly, I don't believe they can fill up all those seats to SFO even during the summer time.

    UA has increased their Edmonton flights and seat capacity by 106% since March 2006 which is very impressive. The change on SFO is an indication that UA and AC are attempting to optimize profitability by retreating to their hub strategy. Calgary is a Star Alliance hub and we often see consolidation of flights and traffic there. That being said, there is more to profitability than just passenger volumes. Passenger yields from Calgary are historically higher which allows the airlines to remain profitable even at lower load factors.
    That being said, we need to fill every seat there is out of Edmonton; in fact we need to ensure those flights are oversold!

    This morning I conducted a tour of our new U.S. Quick Connect program, which expedites domestic arriving passengers on to their U.S. flights. We ran into a couple who had chosen to fly from Montreal and connect through Edmonton on to San Francisco because the times and costs were better!!! Not only do WE as Edmontonians need to buy those SFO seats, we need to make sure our friends and family from other cities choose Edmonton to connect on to our U.S. and international flights!

    BLG: I have been wondering why with the incrediably strong growth numbers and the title of fastest growing airport in Canada and North America YEG has lost out on flights and frequencies to YYC. An example of this is AC serving YYC to FRA and instead of Lufthansa serving YEG they Serve YYC to FRA aswell for a total of two daily flights to YYC and none for YEG. I understand that YYC is a star Alliance hub but there have been a couple of more cases like this. Could you plese elaborate on this a little?

    Edmonton’s air service has obviously been top of mind for many people reading c2e. This has been, and will continue to be the key to Edmonton’s ability to grow air service!! I have addressed air service quite extensively throughout the past few days, and think that those posts can provide you with some good answers.

    Monday’s responses:
    Tuesday’s responses:
    Wednesday’s responses:

    Jasper: It seems to me that a big part of YYC's success vis-a-vis travellers from Europe is due to its connection with Banff and the Rocky Mountains. YYC can attract non-stop flights from Europe because there is demand for Europeans coming to Calgary/Banff. Edmonton is relatively similar in many respects, it's just not known. I see great opportunities for Edmonton as a gateway to, not only the North, but also the Rockies and the area between the Rockies and Edmonton. We need a serious marketing campaign to "get the word out"

    Is anything in this regard being done? Why is it not working? What is being done to fix what hasn't worked in the past? Maybe everyone involved should be thinking outside of the box (Like what Australia did with their "best job in the world")

    Hi, Jasper. Sorry, I’m late answering your question! I agree with you on the Calgary-Banff angle. If you’re in Europe and you look at a flight screen in the airport it actually says the flight is to Banff! And, with the additional inbound tourism generated to Banff through Calgary, they have had an advantage with this stronger inbound market for European flights.

    Interesting though, that the City of Calgary has its own kind of ‘leakage’ problem. Although they have many more European inbound tourists, those tourists are not staying as long or spending as much as Edmonton’s inbound European tourists, because Calgary’s are just heading straight on to Banff!

    In terms of promoting Jasper and linking it to Edmonton; I do believe in the concept. Jasper is spectacular, and it is a ‘new’ adventure destination for those travellers who’ve already been there/done that with Banff.

    We continue to participate in many different ways with our city and provincial tourism agencies. I think that it is a great product, but recognize, like you, that it needs more development. Working with tourism and our many partners, I do know that there are many many different pieces to building a ‘product’ like Edmonton-Jasper. It takes connecting the dots for everything from ground transportation to air transportation, to accommodations, to packaging, to in-market sales, to tour operators … and much more.
    Just taking one piece of this and looking at transportation. There is obviously a distance difference when comparing the Calgary-Banff product to Edmonton-Jasper. Even at optimum, if there were enough tourists that arrived into YEG daily to connect on to smaller scheduled flights to Jasper-Hinton, they still would need to then connect on to a bus ride to the actual Jasper park site … which is about an hour’s drive from the Jasper-Hinton airfield. So, even just looking at the transportation piece, there are many components required to piece a ‘tourism product’ together.

    As a great building block, we have worked with the Jasper community and with local tourism to develop a bus link between EIA and Jasper. Sundog tours now run a daily bus service between Jasper and EIA.

    We will continue to work with partners to develop this product.

    Glenco: I was wondering what the future holds for the old office building at the teminal? Do you intend to demolish it or could this building be converted to a hotel or be leased out?

    This office building is old – it opened in the early ‘60s. We did look at renovating, but it will be expensive because of its age and because it’s in the middle of an operating airport. On the other hand, if there are opportunities to generate enough revenue through leased space, it could be a long-term revenue opportunity for us. We’re looking at some business cases now.

    Blueline: In this economy with all the sabre rattling about "Shovel Ready Projects" and "Flaherty decries delayed release of infrastructure monies "; it would seem like THE prime time for EIA to "bang it's drum" in the media about what an important contributing role EIA has not only to Edmonton but to the region with Expansion 2012. My guess is that EIA will leave the other much lauded but unseen projects in the dust when it comes to commencement and fiscal impact. Thoughts?

    There are real advantages for us to be constructing in this changed economic environment. We are very fortunate that we were planning during the heated economy and constructing now that it has cooled. We couldn’t have planned and timed our ‘shovel ready project’ better if we tried!

    I guess one observation (and this relates to an earlier question), is that while we may not be beating our drum as much as we could, we are also extremely fortunate to be receiving feedback that our community continues to believe that this terminal expansion is required. You’ll recall that the previous southeast terminal and central hall expansion was not as warmly accepted by the community – and yet it was so absolutely critical that it was developed when it was; we would not have been able to accommodate all of this growth without it. Even with the economic cooling we continue to see significant support for the project.

    Sonic Death Monkey: Although it has admittedly been a while since I've been at the International Airport, I have noted that when leaving the terminal and driving down Airport Road towards the QEII that there are inadequate directional signs for exiting on the QEII to get to Edmonton and Red Deer, apart from the little green exit signs on the right side of the road. Most major airports have large overhead directional signs for the benefit of newcomers. JimR (former EIA spokesman) pointed out to me that the signs on Airport Road are a provincial responsibility. Will your discussion with the province's transportation ministry also address the need for adequate overhead directional signs for getting to Edmonton and Red Deer? p.s. Pass along my thanks for the street lights between Edmonton and YEG.

    The lights most definitely make an impact and impression on both newcomers to Edmonton and residents of the region. When we speak to the province about the signs on QEII, we’ll be sure to also raise the issue of those exit signs.
    Last edited by Mr. Reg Milley; 13-03-2009, 05:29 PM. Reason: factual re: acres at Villeneuve

  • #2
    Ask Reg - Responses from the Thursday thread part 2

    The following Q&A is in response to RedBaroness1992:

    Q: At what stage in the current process do EAA and Nav Canada get notified of new development permits, zoning amendments, etc. by the City of Edmonton?

    These are very specific questions about a processes and protocols that would take a lot more than a few paragraphs to really describe properly. I will offer an overview from the airport’s perspective and, for obvious reasons, I can’t describe the detailed process of each of the other parties involved (City of Edmonton, NAV CANADA, Transport Canada).
    The trigger for notification for EA to provide input on proposed developments is when the zoning on a property specifically references the airport as a consideration. For instance, if a property has a possible maximum height restriction that references the Airport Protection Overlay, then EA gets the first call from the city. And following the initial notification of EA, a determination is made as to the appropriate inputs to understand potential impacts to the airport, which includes NAV CANADA and Transport Canada reviews. EA also gets a lot of calls from architects and developers in advance of pursuing city approvals, to plan and prepare for future applications to the City for a new development.

    Q: Back in the summer of 2008, there was a public meeting held at which a Senior Planner for the City of Edmonton explained the process for applications regarding zoning amendments, including at what stage EAA and Nav Canada become involved in the process. A question was put to him, wherein he admitted that in this particular application, the EAA and Nav Canada were not included in the process and that this was an oversight on the City's part. Since that time, have you been made aware of any changes to the City’s process to improve the notification process and thus avoid making the same mistake?

    We are not aware of a project that proceeded without EA input, and there has been a relatively steady flow of input requests from the city on development permits and zoning amendments over the last few years.

    Q: Until mid-2008, the City was using the old Airport Overlay (drafted in the early ‘80s) for their internal process to approve applications for zoning amendments and development permits. In comparison to the present day, and of some concern, there have been many changes made to the airport since the old Airport Overlay document was drafted. Whose responsibility is it to ensure that the City has the most up-to-date information relating to the City Centre Airport?

    The Airport Protection Overlay has not been used to determine maximum height since 2005, at the request of EA. Since that time, EA has become more proactive in representing the airport’s interests when new developments are contemplated around ECCA.

    Q: Has the new Airport Overlay been provided to the City and if so, are they actually using and correctly interpreting the information in that new Airport Overlay to make informed decisions?

    The City has been working on a revised Protection Overlay, with input from Edmonton Airports, Transport Canada and NAV CANADA. EA interprets information associated with determining impacts on ECCA, like NAV CANADA and Transport Canada review information. We then coordinate the feedback to the City on proposed development impacts to the airport.

    Q: From verbal discussions, it appeared at that time that Transport Canada was not informed either of certain zoning amendment applications or development permits. Will there or has there been a change in the process so that the EAA, the City, Nav Canada and Transport Canada collaborate on such applications in the early stages of applications potentially affecting the City Centre Airport?

    EA determines when Transport Canada input would be warranted during a new development review, and there have been occasions where it was not necessary to involve Transport Canada. At ECCA, Transport Canada’s role is to identify when a development may have a regulatory impact. NAV CANADA’s role is to provide comments on how a development would impact air navigation (and associated procedures). It is EA’s responsibility to manage those impacts to maintain aviation safety – to Transport Canada’s satisfaction. Some developments cause no impacts, some cause impacts that can be managed to minimize operational impacts, and some impacts cannot be mitigated, and therefore the development is not acceptable.

    Airport Consolidation Questions:

    This is a really difficult and contraversial topic, however, one which I believe there are many who may have similar concerns:

    Q: Do you know who was commissioned to conduct the recent study completed for the City of Edmonton regarding options for the City Centre Airport? What conclusion was arrived at, what did this study entail to arrive at such a conclusion and is the study available to the public? How much did this study cost and who ultimately foots the bill?

    This has been undertaken independently by the city and they are the author of the report, so this question should be directed to the City. All of their reports have been made public and can be found on their website at

    Q: How many people will be affected by job loss should the City Centre Airport close?

    This decision hasn’t been made so I don’t have a technical answer to this question and, again, it is the City, and not the airport, that is conducting the review. In terms of jobs at the airport, we undertook a 2005 economic impact study that is available on our website at The study showed that at that time close to 1,000 jobs were located at the airport. They are not all airport-related employees. For example, as we’ve said, this number of employees includes employees of the Amiskwaciy Academy.

    Also, since the study was completed, SPAR announced that it was shutting down its facilities at both ECCA and EIA so those reductions have not been considered.

    You can see there would be many pieces to consider. How many of the jobs are aviation related, and how many of those would transfer with the aviation businesses to alternative airports? From what I understand, some companies such as the school would not be affected at all, so those jobs wouldn’t be impacted. Some obviously would be impacted, but in terms of loss I can’t give a specific figure.

    Q: Has it been calculated what loss in potential revenue (i.e. City property taxes) will result from the Blatchford closure and what future income streams will be forthcoming to compensate for this future loss in revenue?

    Administration's report to Edmonton City Council on June 18, 2008, stated that the City received $700,000 in property taxes and $190,000 in business taxes from the operation of ECCA in 2007. The same report went on to say the sale of ECCA lands could generate up to $517 million in net revenue and lead to annual property tax revenues of $95 million for the City of Edmonton.

    Q: What compensation or alternatives, if any, will be given to the businesses located at the City Centre Airport, should the airport be closed. Will they be forced to either close their doors or do business elsewhere?

    This is related to the question the City asked us to respond to. Their question was if the lands are redeveloped, could the aviation users be accommodated at other airports. There are tenants onsite that are not airport related (like the school, or WCB or the Hotel), and therefore would not be affected.

    Yes, aviation related tenants could be accommodated. If you break out the ‘type’ of tenants at ECCA, some would have choices, and some would be more likely move to one airport over another. I described earlier that if the City chooses to maintain a heliport, that would represent another choice for some tenants, for example.

    We’ve posted the presentation we provided to council through the September public hearings

    The question about compensation is not one that I can answer. I believe that is part of what the city is currently reviewing.

    Q: In Wednesday's thread, you had stated that if the City Centre Airport closure takes place, that all flight training would be conducted out of Villeneuve Airport. Neither Villeneuve Airport nor any of the nearby airports have precision IFR approved approaches. Once the City Centre Airport closes, this leaves the International Airport with increased consolidated air traffic and it will be the only precision IFR airport in the region. With consolidation, how will this affect IFR flight training at the International Airport? Will future local IFR training slots be reduced at the International Airport? If so, this will force Edmonton student pilots and recurrent pilots to incur significantly higher costs by forcing them to fly to another airport (i.e. Calgary). As a compromise, will there be future installations of precision approaches at the nearby airports to accommodate IFR flight training?

    Q: What will happen to General Aviation in Edmonton? Where will it go? Where will training be conducted for precision IFR approaches?

    If the ECCA lands are redeveloped, the first question would be whether or not the ILS could be relocated to Villeneuve. If not, EIA would be the only airport in the local area with precision IFR approaches. IFR training in precision IFR approaches could take place at EIA at times outside of the restricted periods, which should meet the majority of the needs of the flight training industry.
    Villeneuve will have two non-precision GPS approaches by the end of this year when we expect them to be published by NAV CANADA. It is also possible to reduce the minima on these approaches using the WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) technology but that could have implications for runway approach lighting requirements at Villeneuve because of the reduced visibility that these approaches could be conducted in. Essentially, these approaches are flown just like a normal ILS approaches (Precision IFR approaches referred to in the question) although the minima that apply to WAAS approaches are not quite as low as ILS minima. From a flight training perspective, WAAS approaches would provide IFR students with the opportunity to learn the skills required to fly precision IFR approaches (ILS) without actually flying ILS.

    The existing IFR training limitations at EIA do not preclude IFR training locally and even if ECCA lands were redeveloped, it is not inevitable that these restrictions would be increased because of the volume of traffic that would be diverted to EIA. Springbank Airport in Calgary had a practice ILS for many years that was utilized exclusively for flight training. It has recently been certified for IFR use and is used for both training and normal operations.

    Q: With consolidation of both airports, should a patient or an organ be required by or from any of the hospitals, additional time would be incurred for medivacs from the Edmonton International Airport to the hospital, whereas right now, medivacs into the City Centre Airport save precious time. How will Edmonton hospitals and patients be affected by the City Centre Airport’s closure?

    This is a question for technical and medical experts to answer fully. I can describe medevac operations as they currently exist in general terms.

    About 3% of our aircraft movements at ECCA are medevac. This is a combination of fixed wing and rotary, which are used for different purposes.

    Generally speaking, fixed wing medevacs transport stable patients from community airports into ECCA. The reason for these medevacs can vary from requiring a specialist care in Edmonton to a scheduled surgery, for example. Once the patient is flown into ECCA, the patient is transferred to ground ambulance and then taken to the appropriate Edmonton hospital (depending on type of care or specialty required) for admittance.

    Rotary wing generally transport more urgent/time sensitive/remote care cases directly to hospital (not to any airport). The City’s report suggests considering a continued heliport on the lands even if they are redeveloped, in which case the rotary wing helicopters could choose to continue to base helicopters at ECCA to transport urgent care patients directly to hospital. STARS, with new capacity helicopters, can reach about 95% of all Albertans from Edmonton and Calgary. Organs for transplant currently come in to both EIA and ECCA.

    Other jurisdictions (such as Calgary) also use helicopters to transport fixed wing medevac patients who arrive at the airport directly to hospital to expedite transporting the patient, if an urgent need arises.

    Q: Edmonton was once coined “Gateway to the North”. How will the City’s relations with the northern communities and their business be affected if closure were to take place?

    Edmonton continues to be “The Gateway to the North”, despite what some folks might be saying. I am disappointed when this is somehow turned into an “us-them, north-south” discussion because our economies and therefore our futures are so integrated!
    Historically, ECCA played an important role in helping to open up Canada’s North and creating strong economic and social relationships with northern communities. ECCA still plays a role in connecting Edmonton with the North. Northern business people still fly their aircraft to and from ECCA. Charter flights still go back and forth. Limited scheduled flights still operate from ECCA. This is part of the City’s evaluation of land use.

    Today, EIA provides the most significant volume in air service to northern communities. Every month, thousands of energy and natural resource workers travel to and from their remote worksites in Northern Canada from EIA. That traffic grew by over 850% in just a couple of years. The reason the International’s role has grown so extensively in this area is because those resource workers are connecting in to Edmonton from across Canada and globally, and then catching a flight into one of the northern sites – they need the connectivity of the International.

    It’s not just resource development and resource companies that need the connectivity. Every month, thousands of northern Canadians travel to EIA via scheduled and charter air service. As our list of non-stops have grown to over 50, those northern travellers are no longer just flying in to stay in Edmonton; their reason for flying here is specifically to use our 50+ non-stops to get to where they need to go around the world. I’ve talked about the one million connecting travellers who make up a significant piece of our overall traffic. The vast majority of these are northern business and vacation travellers connecting through Edmonton.
    In my view, the linkages between Edmonton and the North remain intact, although they have evolved as needs have changed. Edmonton is still “The Gateway to the North,” but it’s also a gateway for the North to the rest of the world. We’re continuing to strengthen relationships with our northern partners to ensure that those connectivity needs are being met.

    Q: Being one of the oldest airports in Canada, over time, fuel, oil, glycol and other toxic agents have leached into the ground and possibly the water supply. Has an environmental study been conducted into the current condition of the airport, costs and extent of clean up required on the City Centre Airport lands in order for the lands to be safely designated for other uses? Who will be footing the bill for such a study and subsequent cleanup? Will it be the developers or taxpayers?

    One of the things the City of Edmonton did before Edmonton Airports assumed responsibility for operating ECCA was conduct a full environmental site assessment of the property, which included an assessment and investigation of potential contamination from historical (dating back to the Second World War) sources. The investigation concluded with remediation of locations that warranted cleanup. And since transfer, Edmonton Airports monitors operations and activities at ECCA for environmental impacts, which are minor given the operating profile of the airport.

    The City of Edmonton is currently conducting two assessments that relate to environmental contamination and remediation at ECCA.
    The first is an “ECCA Lands Impact Assessment”. This report, prepared by Bunt & Associates, will look at land use and transportation (current and potential), downtown development (current and potential), and the servicing impact and requirements if ECCA lands are redeveloped.

    The second is an “Economic Impact Assessment”. This assessment, prepared by Applications Management Consulting Ltd., has two objectives: (1) Determine the current and future economic and financial impacts of the ECCA from the current operation and from possible redevelopment; and (2) complete the cost-benefit analysis of a redevelopment opportunity in comparison to the current operation.

    The two reports were remarked upon in Administration's written status report to Edmonton City Council's Executive Committee on March 4, 2009. These two assessments will be incorporated into Administration’s final report to Edmonton City Council’s Executive Committee scheduled for June 24, 2009.

    In terms of cost to study and cost to remediate … again that’s a question for the City.

    We’ve heard reference to extreme numbers, including $1 billion. If you look at two relatively recent airport examples with much larger sites and much more extensive environmental challenges, they are in the magnitude of: Stapleton at $29 million turn-key remediation of 4,500 acres of their 7,000 acre airport site (2000-2004); and Austin-Bergstrom, which was a former U.S. Air Force site that had 481 hazardous waste sites at an estimated cost of $55 million.

    Q: Rumour has it that the City Centre Airport lands may be a future site for a World Expo/Trade Fair. It can safely be said that the majority of past World Expos/Trade Fairs in the past have incurred high and still-existing deficits for the hosting municipalities (i.e. 1967 Montreal Expo, 2000 Hannover Expo, etc.), despite the publicity and infrastructure improvements. What is the process involved in airport closure to make the land available to the City for their discretionary use?

    I have heard the Edmonton Expo 2017 rumour, too, but as far as I know there has not been any kind of decision on a site location. That’s another question for the city, and they do have an Expo page up on their website
    Last edited by Mr. Reg Milley; 13-03-2009, 05:26 PM. Reason: formatting


    • #3
      Ask Reg - Responses from the Thursday thread part 3

      Special thanks to the c2e community!

      Wow! What a great communication vehicle. C2E is an awesome website.

      My sincere thanks for affording me the honour to participate – this was truly a great experience for me. I want to sincerely thank each and every one of you who took the time out of your busy schedules to send questions my way.

      The quality of the questions, your level of knowledge, which is second to none, and your genuine interest in our airports and air service was outstanding. Your interest and passion for Edmonton and for seeing air service in the Edmonton region be all that it can be is commendable and very much appreciated.

      Edmonton is extremely fortunate to have such a team of dedicated supporters, who really care about our community. Thank you on behalf of all of us. Special thanks in particular to c2e’s Richard S for facilitating the Q&A series, a trend we hope to see continue.

      I would like to keep our particular dialogue going. In this regard, I would like to suggest that we have another ‘Beer & Bull’ session this spring. How about if we host it at EIA and have a behind the scenes tour? Let me know if this would work for you and if so, we will pick a date and finalize the details.

      Again, my sincere thanks for an awesome experience and great feedback.



      Q Kona: A simple question, there is lots of talk that ECCA is the gateway to the North, some think that it is not. Can you share what the real story is? How many scheduled passengers, how many aircraft, how many seats at each airport go to the north? Does Calgary have more activity to the North? Has this changed over time? Has consolidation actually made access to the world better for northern communities? How much is the economic impact from consolidation by people from Edmonton and the north not having to connect through Calgary (let alone the environmental benefits? OK, perhaps not a simple question but just looking for the facts to dispel the myths!

      Please see my earlier answer to RedBaroness about Gateway to the North because I’ve made some comments there. I’ll add just a couple of stats to that previous answer.

      Edmonton serves 12 northern destinations, which is much more than any other ‘Alberta airport’ ! We also provide more than double the seats from Edmonton as compared to Calgary.

      Because we don’t have all of the numbers compiled for 2008 at this point, I’m referencing 2007 data … but to my earlier points about northern travellers needing connectivity – from January, 2005 to end of 2007, connections from key northern points (Yellowknife, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie) rose 79 per cent:

      -Fort McMurray: +35%
      -Grande Prairie: +80%
      -Yellowknife: +175%

      Over the same period, overall connections including connections to the north were up 94% as EIA air service has grown and world access to the north has improved. Consolidation of air service has made connections to the world far better for northern travellers just as it has for local travellers. By using EIA’s expanding list of non-stop air services, northern travellers can eliminate the second and third connections through other cities.

      In terms of overall scheduled services. At ECCA there are scheduled flights on 10-seat aircraft (as restricted per the policy) flying to Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and Peace River. For the month of January, all of these combined totalled 146 flights, meaning 1460 seats. That same number of seats departs daily from EIA before 8 a.m.

      Q Sean Mc: As an airline pilot flying out of CYEG I have had a very unique perspective of our industry and the ten years since consolidation. There has hardly been the huge amount of new flights that the city was promised. In fact the Air Canada flight to London only came due to the boom in Alberta. Nothing to do with consolidation, before that the airport had 7 years with just normal growth. You brag about how there was 747 flying overhead waiting to land. This airport has not seen any 747 or for that matter A-340 or 777 at all. There are only one-schedule long hull flights out of this airport.
      The EIA even uses our airport fees to put up billboards around the city to advertise the flights for certain airlines while ignoring the other airlines.

      Don't bother telling me about how it is the fastest growing airport in the world. When the airport uses numbers from oil field workers going to the oil sands from apron 2 to help prop up your numbers. Calgary managed to have over 12 million pax last year, twice what CYEG did.
      Now the EIA wants to spend 1 billion dollars on a new movable terminal. For what, the 1-hour rush in the morning. Have you seen the place at 10 in the morning? You could fire a cannon through it and not hit anyone.

      CYEG will never be a hub. Just a spoke. Look at your major US airlines. American, Continental, Delta, United have either pulled out in the last few years or don't even fly here. The US airlines that do fly here are regional ones with the exception on US Air and Northwest. Yet consolidation was going to make CYEG a major hub. A lot of the flights that the airport has attracted are seasonal or charters. Not really the promise that consolidation would bring.

      I have flown around this world and have seen many airports and I have come to the conclusion as many others of us in this industry that the EIA is doing a very poor job of managing an airport.

      Well, I’m guessing we’ll ultimately disagree on a few things. But, here are some facts:

      -Of our 6.4 million annual passengers, 1 million are connecting passengers; we are absolutely an airport hub.
      The ECCA Air Access Policy was fully implemented in December of 2005. In 2006, AC increased their number of seats by 30% (aug-aug), and Air Canada’s total seats was up 17%. Air Canada added 9 new non-stop services in 2006 to EIA.

      -We have not increased aeronautical fees to airlines since 2005. And, we are working on a new rates and fees model that supports airline growth in Edmonton.

      -We need to continue to engage our community through awareness because we still have close to 1 million people travelling to Calgary to catch a flight, and that weakens our own air service.

      -Yes, Calgary has close to 13million; just as Toronto has 28 million. EIA passenger growth is 57.7% since 2005; that’s momentous growth that no other Canadian airport rivals.

      -We have experienced sustained double-digit growth at EIA; we have led the country in passenger growth for three years; the terminal is 20% over capacity. Airports are not identically full at every hour of the day. They operate in peaks. Again because of our growth, our peaks have lengthened and we are seeing them through greater periods throughout the day.

      -Can’t comment on your discussion of 747s. I’ve never ‘bragged’ that they were flying overhead.

      -In terms of long-haul flights, our growth in US and International markets continues to be in the double digits. In fact, there has been double digit passenger growth in the US and international sectors for the last six consecutive years. Air Canada announcing they will expand their London 4x weekly service to daily and then 9x per week is significant. 3x weekly scheduled service to Mexico City on Mexicana is significant.

      -The only comment I do take exception to is your belief that Edmonton has ever accepted a ‘spoke’ status. I’d only point to the comments on C2E to demonstrate that we don’t need to –
      and we haven’t.
      Last edited by Mr. Reg Milley; 13-03-2009, 09:07 PM.