In that plan, the city will look to identify key requirements and investments to support growth at Peterborough Airport, and one of those items will include examining the feasibility of passenger air service.
“Ever since COVID has hit in the last two years, it’s changed the aerospace industry completely. It’s changed the way people look at airports and the way people travel,” said coun. Don Vassiliadis, the city’s chair of economic development.
“People are looking towards the smaller airports like our own to travel. That’s really why we want to get a new plan together.”
Vassiliadis tells Global News Peterborough that passenger air service at a smaller airport such as Peterborough would provide shorter wait times and smaller crowd sizes than the larger airports.
“Ideally, we want to have a carrier service that takes people to different spots and different areas,” he said.
“To do that, we’d need to widen the runway and we’d need a customs office there. It takes time and planning to get that and to know how much that would cost and to put it into the budget. Ideally, that’s what the new plan will look at and it will help our economy tremendously.”
As part of looking at the feasibility of passenger service, the city is engaging with carrier services to see what their needs are.
Passenger flights aren’t new to the airport with 7 chartered flights scheduled for this year.
According to the City of Peterborough, the airport master plan will update the profile and role of the airport for the next 15 years; reaffirm and identify new business development opportunities to continue to position the airport as an economic driver for the region; re-examine the impact of the airport on the local and regional economy; and assess current infrastructure and provide recommendations for rehabilitation and/or expansion to meet forecast demand.
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It will also evaluate the current facilities at the airport as well as document a business strategy for short, medium and long-term development initiatives.
“The previous airport master plan was updated in 2009. At that time there was an estimated 250 full-time equivalent positions on-site with $41 million for GDP for the surrounding region,” said Kyle Bruce, airport superintendent.
“Since that time, the airport has experienced exceptional growth in fulfilling its buildout plan to date. We’re currently estimating over 500 full-time positions on-site, over 25 hangars have been built since 2008. Other businesses have located to-site. The airport currently contributes over $80 million in GDP. The master plan will reconfirm that number and assess the economic impact of the airport..”
A survey is open to residents at connectptbo.ca/airportmasterplan in order to get feedback on the master plan document.
A project webinar will provide a virtual open house to provide an overview of the project’s objectives and will identify opportunities for individuals to share feedback with the project team on Monday, Apr. 25 at 6 p.m.
“There’s many different uses that different people and businesses have with the airport and the study itself will consider demand, regional growth forecast and development plans as well as the assessment of the feasibility of air passenger service and infrastructure and design requirements,” Bruce added.
“For our residents and regional residents, we’re inviting people to share their opinion about the airport and provide information on their travel habits and things like that so we can provide that information into the study. Businesses as well to provide that input.”
The airport master plan update will go to council for approval in late July.