Photo Tour of Apron 2 at the Edmonton International Airport

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.

EIA General Aviation Tour

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.

EIA General Aviation Tour

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.

EIA General Aviation Tour

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.

EIA General Aviation Tour

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.

EIA General Aviation Tour

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 General Aviation Tour

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 General Aviation Tour

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.

Photo Tour of the Edmonton City Centre Airport

This week I had the opportunity (with a few other local bloggers) to tour the Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA). Traci Bednard, VP of Communications at Edmonton Airports, took the time to guide us around the facility, providing information relevant to the ongoing debate and answering as many of our questions as she could. Here’s what we saw.

Edmonton City Centre Airport

ECCA, built in 1929, encompasses approximately 144 acres of land just north of the City Centre. It has two runways (12/30 and 16/34) placed in an intersecting “V” configuration. The airport supports general aviation activities. Approximately 41% of all flights originate and terminate at ECCA without landing at another airport.

Edmonton City Centre Airport

Edmonton Airports has invested over $13 million in ECCA since scheduled service was consolidated at EIA in 1996. A further $35 million of capital investment will be required over the next 10 years. Though ECCA generates a small amount of operating income annually, it cannot fully cover its capital requirements.

Edmonton City Centre Airport

Edmonton’s Zoning Bylaw 12800 describes the Airport Protection Overlay (APO), which restricts the height of structures within the overlay area to 815.34 m above sea level. The maximum height of a building varies depending on the base elevation. At 146 m tall, Manulife Place is very close to the maximum, as is the soon-to-be-completed EPCOR Tower at a height of 149 m.

Edmonton City Centre Airport

Roughly 27% of all aircraft movements at ECCA are northern flights. In 2008, there were 133,000 landed seats from the north to ECCA, versus 778,000 from the north to EIA. The top 25 users at ECCA make up 75% of all aircraft movements, and of these users, 18 also commonly use EIA.

Edmonton City Centre Airport

Roughly 4000 air ambulance flights occur at ECCA each year (about 5% of total movements). Less than 10% of those (approximately 350) are time sensitive. Air ambulance, while important, is just one leg of a patient’s overall journey. Patients must be stabilized on the scene and taken to an airport via ground ambulance, loaded on a fixed wing air ambulance, flown to Edmonton, and then loaded onto another ground ambulance to be taken to a hospital.

Edmonton City Centre Airport

STARS Air Ambulance is one of the more well-known users of ECCA. Its helicopter fleet transports time sensitive/trauma patients directly to hospital, most often to the University of Alberta hospital. STARS, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Health & Wellness, and Edmonton Airports have discussed the concept of an integrated air ambulance facility at EIA, which could create efficiencies and ultimately improve patient care.

Edmonton City Centre Airport

With the phased closure of ECCA set to begin next week, Edmonton Airports has been working with tenants (such as the Government of Alberta) to help prepare for the closure of runway 16/34. That includes ensuring that all tenants have access to runway 12/30, and exploring options for moving to either EIA or Villeneuve.

Edmonton City Centre Airport

The City of Edmonton has launched an international competition seeking firms interested in redeveloping the ECCA lands. A total of 33 responses to the request for potential bidders were received. The City is working to short list the group to 5 by August 6. That group will have until the end of the year to develop their proposals.

Thanks to Traci and Edmonton Airports for the tour. You can see the rest of my photos here. You can read fellow blogger John Winslow’s post here. Stay tuned to #ecca on Twitter for updates on this ongoing issue. You get more information about ECCA from Edmonton Airports.

Edmonton International Airport launches new brand

eia - we'll move you The Edmonton International Airport’s (EIA) new “we’ll move you” brand actually launched earlier this month on May 8th, but I didn’t see a commercial for it until this week. I haven’t had to fly anywhere either, so I’m not sure if the new brand is prominently displayed at the airport itself or not.

The new brand is meant to bring awareness to the fact that EIA is growing:

The new brand and airport expansion program reflect EIA’s shift from a small, regional airport to a medium-sized international airport serving Northwestern Canada. EIA is Canada’s fastest-growing major airport for two years in a row and now serves over six million passengers annually, a nearly 50 per cent increase in just three years.

The “we’ll move you” philosophy also underpins the $1.1-billion expansion program and current initiatives to incorporate industry-leading technologies, including common-use, self-serve check-in kiosks, Pay & Go parking stations, the expedited customs clearance program NEXUS and a host of others.

The expansion is expected to be completely by 2012 and should enable EIA to service nine million passengers annually. A key aspect to the expansion is a brand new control tower. Our airport is finally getting some food outlets too, including another Tim Horton’s and two Starbucks.

In addition to the branding, they’ve got a new URL: http://www.flyeia.com. It simply redirects to http://www.edmontonairports.com. Reminds me of Edmonton Transit’s http://www.takeets.com address, which I find far easier to remember than anything else.

I like the new logo and colors. Fresh and bright, the new design definitely makes EIA feel more modern than the old navy blue and red.

You can learn more about the changes happening at EIA here.