Last week I had the opportunity (with a few other local bloggers) to tour the General Aviation Services at the Edmonton International Airport (EIA). As with the ECCA tour, Traci Bednard, VP of Communications at Edmonton Airports, was our guide. We ran into some challenges getting a vehicle to take us to Apron 2, but we eventually made it. Here’s what we saw.
This is what most people think of when they think about EIA. The number of passengers has grown significantly since scheduled service was consolidated at EIA in 1996. EIA now handles roughly 6 million passengers each year, and is in the midst of major expansion, known as Expansion 2012.
Apron 2, on the north side of the airport near by runway 02/20, is where a significant amount of general aviation (GA) activity takes place. Approximately 380,000 landed seats are served through Apron 2 each year. Edmonton Airports has committed just under $20 million for GA facilities & support at EIA this year.
There are currently two Fixed Base Operators (FBO) at Apron 2 – Executive Flight Centre and Shell Aerocentre (Shell also operates at ECCA). FBOs provide a variety of services, such as aircraft maintenance, fueling, passenger services, cargo services, etc. They operate hangars, passenger lounges, executive lounges, and customer parking. Shuttle services are available to/from the main terminal, enabling passengers to connect with scheduled service.
We got to see one of the Executive Flight Centre’s facilities. The VIP lounge pictured above serves the Edmonton Oilers, Edmonton Eskimos, and many others. One of the most recent VIPs to use it was Kevin Costner. Oilers players are provided with valet service, so they can drive up and get on the plane (and when they return, their vehicles are ready to go). The Executive Flight Centre will honor almost any request, including catering, ground transportation, etc. The Executive Flight Centre also provides ample hangar space, and can even accommodate a Global Express.
A number of GA charter companies operate at Apron 2, including Alta Flights, Flight Tech Aviation, North Cariboo Air, and Sunwest Aviation. Other users include the military, and private operators such as Cathton Aviation.
EIA is the primary airport serving the north. At EIA, 70% of northern departures are scheduled service, 18% are non-scheduled, and 12% provide oil sands related crew changes. As many as 1200 CNRL Horizon workers per day pass through Apron 2. Other northern projects that rely on EIA include the Mackenzie Gas Project, Diavik Diamond Mines, and Athabasca Oil Sands.
EIA could easily accommodate the GA activity that currently takes place at ECCA. There are many large hangars sitting empty, such as the old Spar hangar, pictured above. It offers 120,000 square feet of hangar space, with an additional 35,000 square feet of office space attached. Thanks to recent investments that Edmonton Airports has made at Apron 2, there is also plenty of space available for customers who want something different to custom-build.
Thanks to Traci and Edmonton Airports for the tour. You can see the rest of my photos here.