October 25, 2018 11:50 am
Updated: October 25, 2018 3:31 pm

Air Canada opens new facility at Edmonton International Airport

The tail of the newly revealed Air Canada Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft is seen at a hangar, Thursday, February 9, 2017.

The Canadian Press

The Edmonton International Airport (EIA)  is continuing to expand with the construction of a new Air Canada facility.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday morning on the 50,000-square-foot, $19 million building that will house Air Canada’s ground support equipment service and cargo teams.

“Edmonton is a strategic distribution point for the oil and gas industry here in the province, in this cargo facility,” Kevin Howlett, Air Canada senior vice president, regional markets & government relations, said.

“All of the necessary ground equipment that we use in the course of our airport operations, including our cargo operations, will be supported in this facility.”

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The airline signed a 15-year lease for the facility, which is expected to open in Sept. 2019.

“Any time we’re growing air cargo here it really helps the region. There’s so many jobs that get created in the import, export market as well as for logistics,” EIA president & CEO Tom Ruth said.

“Cargo is a really important component of even the passenger flights. The more revenue per aircraft, the more additional flights we get over time.”

Air Canada said its cargo handled 3.2 million kilograms of goods in 2017 through its Edmonton facility, including pharmaceuticals, mail, art and oil and gas industry equipment.

“It upgrades our current operation, gives it a more modern facility, far better working environment, better tools obviously for our staff to be able to do what they have to do and the current staff here will be moving into this facility,” Howlett said.

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EIA said Air Canada is offering more than 290 flights each week to 12 destinations in North America this fall, including direct flights to Las Vegas and San Francisco.

In March, Air Canada announced it was launching daily, direct flight options to Las Vegas from the EIA. The flights are scheduled to begin this Sunday onboard an Air Canada Rouge A319.

In late 2017, the airline launched a plan to provide daily non-stop, flights between Edmonton and San Francisco.

READ MORE: New Costco Warehouse opens at Edmonton International Airport

There’s been a lot of development at the EIA this year, including the opening of a Costco warehouse in August, the opening of the Premium Outlet Collection EIA mall in May and a new five-storey, 135-room and suite Fairfield Inn by Marriott is under development and scheduled to be complete in early 2019.

Ruth said there have been about 25 different investments at the airport over the past four to five years.

“We’ve had about $750-million worth of private investment in recent years, since 2012, at the airport, creating so many jobs, thousands of jobs, 2,000 jobs this year alone, which is fantastic growth for our region,” he said.

Last year, Aeroterm also opened a new 50,000-square-foot, $10-million cargo facility at the airport.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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