Government investment helps Red Deer airport expansion take off

A provincial investment to expand the Red Deer Airport will help diversify the economy and create long term economic growth.

Municipal Affairs Minister Deron Bilous, Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood (far left), City of Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and R.J. Steenstra (CEO of Red Deer Regional Airport Authority) check out the aircraft on display after Tuesday's announcement.
Municipal Affairs Minister Deron Bilous, Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood (far left), City of Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and R.J. Steenstra (CEO of Red Deer Regional Airport Authority) check out the aircraft on display after Tuesday’s announcement.

The Red Deer Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in Canada, with a 179 per cent increase in scheduled passengers over the last four years. This necessary expansion will help Red Deer leverage opportunities for economic development to create good jobs in the growing community.

“Our government is committed to supporting municipal partnerships, like the Red Deer Airport expansion. This expansion was identified by the City as an important economic development priority and we are pleased to work with them to provide funding to get it built. The airport expansion will create good jobs, attract new business opportunities and help make our province more economically diverse.”

~ Deron Bilous, Minister of Municipal Affairs

Support from the Alberta government makes it possible for this important transportation project to get off the ground in time for the arrival of the 2019 Canada Winter Games, which will be hosted in Red Deer. The Games are expected to generate $125 million for the local economy when Red Deer welcomes more than 3,600 participants and 20,000 visitors.

“In working with the province to provide Red Deer with the necessary funding for our airport, the province recognizes that in building Red Deer, they are building Alberta. In 2019, the Canada Winter Games will connect the nation to Red Deer and to the province. Not only will this airport expansion ensure Red Deer is prepared to host the Games, it will solidify our trade and distribution capacity beyond the games, and therefore, position us for sustained economic growth. This funding is vital as we look to our future as Alberta’s next big city.”

~ Tara Veer, Mayor of the City of Red Deer

This Alberta Community Partnership grant recognizes the strategic benefits of the airport expansion project and the strong inter-municipal collaboration between the City of Red Deer and Red Deer County. The Government of Alberta will provide $2 million a year to the project, over three years.

“This announcement marks another important step in opening the Red Deer region up to the world. Increasing our airport’s capacity will allow for greater business opportunities, including the movement of people and products to important international markets. I would like to thank the provincial government, the City of Red Deer, and everyone else who came together to form such an effective partnership.”

~ Jim Wood, Mayor of Red Deer County

The expansion includes a runway extension that will accommodate larger aircraft and allow for expanded passenger and commercial services. One 737 landing daily will generate $600,000 in annual revenue, 16 person years of employment and $950,000 in direct annual wages.

“This critical runway extension provides us with the necessary infrastructure to attract a much broader range of aircraft and airlines, improve passenger experience, and also support the expansion of aviation-related business and industry to Red Deer and Central Alberta. We will now be better positioned to take this airport into the next phase of its growth, and in doing so serve the market and help to expand the economic possibilities for the City of Red Deer and the broader Central Alberta region.”

~ RJ Steenstra, CEO of Red Deer Regional Airport Authority

Airport Project Details and Statistics

  • Remaining project costs of $3.5 million will be provided jointly by the municipalities with $1.75 million from the City of Red Deer and $1.75 million from the County of Red Deer.
  • Red Deer Airport has marked 179 per cent in compound annual growth from 2011 to 2014.
  • Approximately 25,800 passengers used the airport in 2014, up from 1,468 in 2012 and 11,997 in 2013.
  • YQF generated more than 51,000 aircraft movements in 2014, supporting 225 jobs and contributing $100 million into the regional economy.