“This is a huge deal.”
That’s how Campbell River mayor Andy Adams sees the announcement of new tenant coming to set up shop at the Campbell River Airport.
PAL Aerospace, which recently won a renewal of its contract from the federal government to provide aerial surveilance of the coastlines of Canada, will base their West Coast operations out of Campbell River going forward, according to a release from the company this week.
“Under the new contract, PAL Aerospace will provide Fisheries and Oceans Canada with service through a combination of Beechcraft King Air B200 medium-range aircraft and Dash 8-100 series long-range aircraft, all associated ground support and other related services,” the release says, adding that PAL’s contract will help the government “monitor domestic and foreign vessel activities and detect potential violations,” as well as help with “pollution surveillance, environmental monitoring, and marine security for a number of other federal departments and agencies.”
Adams made the announcement of Campbell River becoming the company’s new West Coast home at Monday night’s council meeting.
“This is a significant announcement for our airport,” Adams says. “We don’t know the details of everything just yet, but it has the potential to be significant in terms of increasing the amount of activity at the airport. It may also tie in nicely to our request to the Ministry of Forests [Lands and Natural Resource Development] to change our fire tanker base from a seasonal one to a permanent regional one because of the economies of scale available by having similar types of equipment here.”
“This is planes; this is hangars; this is fuel sales; this is huge,” Adams continues, adding that the company was previously operating out of Comox Airport, “but had no room to grow there, so they picked here.”
Adams gives much of the credit for that decision to the city’s decision to offer fuel sales at the airport.
“I really want to send appreciation to those sitting on the Airport Advisory Committe for the work they have been doing with this,” Adams says, particulary “their insistence on getting a dedicated fuel facility at the airport. That was one of the real tipping points that put Campbell River ahead of other communities.”