Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport is one of the busiest in the country in both development, and takeoffs and landings.
For a long time it has been one of the country’s most active in terms of aircraft movements, said airport manager Guy Miller. In the month of July, for example, Statistics Canada listed Pitt Meadows as the fifth busiest in the country, with 13,120 takeoffs and landings.
Also, pilots would have to fly a long way to find an airport with as much construction activity as YPK is seeing right now. The city has announced millions in airport improvement projects in recent years, and they are mostly going ahead despite a downturn in the economy, Miller explained.
The list of projects is long, and Miller said there is no other airport in the province with so much development underway.
“They’re all going ahead,” said Miller, and it’s easy to see that site work is being done, and foundations are being poured.
“They are wonderful upgrades that will benefit not just the airport and the tenants, but the entire community, as well,” he said.
Three major projects worth a combined $60 million were announced in October 2018.
A heli park in the northwest corner of the property will see five buildings, each 55,000 square feet in size, for maintenance and repair, and hangar space. Laplante Holdings is the company.
A Sky Helicopters expansion of approximately 20,000 square feet for helicopter and business jet storage, studio rental, and office space, and a headquarters for their Coastal Drones business.
And, Hangar One Aviation announced a new building with 20,000 square feet for aircraft storage and another 12,000 for office space and aviation-related businesses.
Then the city announced a main terminal rebuild early in 2019, to replace five double-wide trailers that served as the terminal for two decades. The $8-million project will be approximately 40,000 square feet on two levels.
It is being constructed by Pacific Airport Services, which is also building a 30,000-square-foot commercial hangar.
Vancouver Aviation College is pouring the foundation of a new 15,000-square-foot aviation training facility next door.
Golden Arrow properties is building a new commercial building and hangar of 48,000 square feet.
Four general aviation hangar buildings are being constructed on the east side of the airport off Baynes Road by Cross Roads Venture.
There are also plans for a seaplane terminal and restaurant on the banks of the Fraser River, but that project has been put on the backburner by the economic downtown, said Miller, who emphasized it is not cancelled.
The airport is putting new fencing around the entire perimetre – the latest of upgrades that have included runway curtains and lighting. Miller said it is important work.
“It has a significant impact. When you put resources into rebuilding tired infrastructure, it rejuvenates the entire airport,” he said, adding that the new airport board, and in particular mayors Bill Dingwall of Pitt Meadows and Mike Morden of Maple Ridge have both been supportive.
“We’ve really moved the needle forward,” said Miller. “Pitt Meadows Airport was ready for it. Its time had come.”
COVID-19 has been a disaster for the airline industry, and the number of aircraft movements in July dropped 37 per cent across the country compared with 2019.
“Everyone has to get through COVID, but I think the future is pretty bright for the Pitt Meadows Airport.”