Cooking Lake Airport set to expand under new ownership

It’s one of the busiest small airports in Canada, and now it’s under new ownership.

Operation and ownership of the Cooking Lake Airport was recently transferred from Edmonton Airports to the Cooking Lake Airport Condominium Association. The association is made up of a group of recreational flyers, small business owners and aviation enthusiasts.

The deal has been in the works for years, and the airport was officially turned over on October 1.

Members from both sides of the transaction say it’s a great facility but, it was in need of some upgrades.

“We came to an agreement where we’ll take over the operation of the airport and continue to grow and meet the needs of the smaller aircraft pilots and owners in the region,” explained Jim Johannsson, President, Cooking Lake Airport Condominium Association.

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“We just weren’t in a position to give it that time and attention that it needed, whereas the owners are now at a perfect opportunity to take responsibility for their own destiny,” added Diane Trenn, Vice President of Airport Operations at EIA.

With 70 hangars, 130 aircraft, and about 25,000 aircraft movements per year, Cooking Lake Airport is one of the busiest small airports in the country. The new owners say they are already looking to expand operations.

“We’d actually like to continue to expand the number of hangars out here. So, we’ve actually got some modest expansion plans that we’d like to start moving on in the next year,” said Johannsson adding, “There’s definitely air taxi and charter type operations, and of course small companies looking to manage their business interests out here.”

In order to do that, Johannsson says the will be working closely with the county.

“There’s potential there. So, it is a partnership,” said Strathcona County Mayor, Linda Osinchuk.

She says with its great location and history, expanding the airport could lead to great economic benefits for the area.

“This one could truly be a win-win for not only the capital region but, for the province.”

Edmonton Airports will continue to work with the new owners to provide advice wherever needed but, Johannsson says it’s time for them to dive in head first.

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“Of course there’s a little bit of nervousness amongst the owners, because it is a big responsibility. But, the reality is we’ve got a really strong board and we’ve got a really supportive membership.”

With files from Vinesh Pratap.