B.C. Airports Get Some Help

B.C.’s 57 regional and rural airports are lining up for $16.7 million in provincial relief to help them weather the next year of post-pandemic recovery. The grants were included in a rural transportation package announced earlier this week that also funded regional bus services. The funding is restricted to regional and rural airports that have seen revenue-generating passenger and transient traffic plummet in the last year. In announcing the grant program, Premier John Horgan said B.C.’s far-flung municipal and regional airports supply essential services like fire protection and medevac flights and have to cover costs to keep operating. “Today’s announcement will help protect services people rely on to commute to important appointments safely and affordably – especially for those in rural and remote communities. This funding will help operators recover from this challenging time and build back even stronger.”

Airport operators have to submit applications for the funding and it is intended to subsidize operations for a full year. The funding criteria are not clear but the eligible airports range from GA-only facilities to major centres like Kelowna International Airport which routinely cracks the top ten in Canada in passenger movements. The B.C. Aviation Council (BCAC) lauded the program. “Undeniably, aviation has been among the hardest hit sectors of the pandemic,” said BCAC Chair Heather Bell. “The BCAC applauds this announcement from the Province, and we see it as a clear sign that our government understands the vital role our airports play in our transportation system and provincial economy.”