West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline

Airport passenger fees to increase at West Kootenay Regional Airport

First fee increase in 20 years

For the first time in 20 years, passenger facility fees at the West Kootenay Regional Airport will be going up.

Currently departing passengers have a $7 fee added to their tickets at the time of purchase, but as of June 4, the passenger facility fee (PFF) will jump to $25.

According to airport manager Maciej Habrych, the current fee is well below average compared to similar airports across the country.

He says increasing PFF to industry standards will ensure that WKRA is generating the most aeronautical revenues to invest in required capital infrastructure projects required for growth.

Haybrych has been in direct consultations with Air Canada in recent months making a business case for the increased fees — a necessary step before fee changes are approved. Air Canada endorsed the fee change in April.

The new fee structure will stay in place for a minimum of five years.

Increased revenues from the fees will be invested to improve the level of services at the airport. The revenue is earmarked to support the implementation and servicing of the RNP (required navigational performance) initiative that will increase takeoff and landing reliability at the airport through GPS technology.

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Revenues will also be used for an expansion to the passenger hold room, long-term airside infrastructure expansions and the pending taxiway and apron expansion that will better handle the Q400 aircraft that are now flying out of WKRA.

Modest passenger growth forecasts call for the increase in revenues to be $329,000, in 2022, $548,000 in 2023 and $767,000 in 2024 and the following two years.

Over the next year, the airport manager will also be looking at aircraft landing, fuel concession, terminal lease, land lease, parking and advertising fees for WKRA and making recommendations for changes.

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betsy.kline@castlegarnews.com

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