Category Archives: Blog

Abbotsford Airport Success

The Abbotsford International Airport’s pile of cash continues to grow after the city-owned facility posted a $3.8 million profit in 2018.

It’s not bad for an airport bought by the city for just $10 – that’s not a typo – two decades ago.

Year-end financial statements show the airport’s operating profit jumped by 60 per cent last year. The money has been put into the airport’s capital reserves which, as it stand, are “more than sufficient to cover our future capital plans without the need of incurring any debt,” according to the report by Myra Webb, the airport’s finance manager.

In recent years, the airport has posted operating profits of a little more than $2 million. But revenue increased dramatically last year, coming in $800,000 above what was projected, thanks largely to more passengers.

Passengers leave a Swoop Airlines flight at the Abbotsford airport. The airport expects to post record profits next year thanks to higher passenger numbers. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

YXX expects another jump in passenger counts in 2019, and officials have predicted that it will top the one million mark for the first time. That is expected to increase the facility’s profits for years to come, according to budget documents.

The city’s budget predicts the airport should make around $4.5 million for each of the next five years.

All that money goes to the airport’s reserves, which currently stand at $18.9 million. The money is used to pay for capital projects, like the recently completed terminal expansion.

But while the airport is set for the short- and medium-term, Mayor Henry Braun said those reserves will be needed for future major projects.

“We have some significant investments to make in the future,” he said

“We are just looking out over the horizon to the next 20 years, so while $18 million in reserves sounds like a lot of money and it is, relatively speaking, that’s not a lot of money for where we’re going and where this airport is going to go over the next 25 years.”

Those costs could include moving the control tower, an idea that has been floated by transportation authorities in the past, he said. And the next terminal upgrade could cost tens of millions of dollars, he said. The city has long said that all such capital projects must be funded by the airport itself.

For now, though, the airport has plenty of money.

YXX plans to spend around $5 million on a new bag room over the next three years. When that is done, the terminal will be big enough to accommodate as many as 2.5 million passengers each year before it needs a further expansion, airport general manager Parm Sidhu told council last month.

Another $10 million will be spent over the next five years to replace or upgrade various buildings, roads, taxiways, and pieces of equipment.

But even with that spending, the airport should be able to add millions of dollars more to its reserve funds. Interest on the money in the two funds brought in more than $400,000 last year.

Abbotsford Airport was bought from the federal government for $10 in 1997, on the condition that it remain an airport and that the city itself not contribute any money beyond that small initial purchase price.

Five years earlier, the airport had lost more than $200,000, and Braun hailed Matsqui and Abbotsford mayors Dave Kendall and George Ferguson for seeing the potential in the airport.

“Those two gentlemen and the board are what made this happen,” he said.

https://www.abbynews.com/news/abbotsford-airport-raking-in-millions-two-decades-after-being-bought-for-10/

President’s Column

Hello, dear club members, and welcome to a new month!

After my wildly incorrect Spring-time musings about the pleasant weather of February I have decided to not make any predictions for March. Sorry about that.

Despite the snow, the cold, the wind and other wintery weather February did have some bright spots. A highlight for me was attending Warren’s recurrency training. It was very informative and left us all with lots to think about. I’ve jotted a few of my own observations,  below, and I welcome any other insights you may have.

March is shaping up to be a good month. Your Vice President has planned out a St. Patricks Day celebration and a Pool Tournament that will run as long as it needs to run, depending on how many people cue up. Warren will be doing his safety presentation this month since we cancelled the February meeting due to snow. And, with the promise of summer whispering on the wind, GSBS will be undergoing test flights later in the month. Ed Boon and his crew of volunteers have also started planning for the Wings and Wheels event, scheduled for May 25 th – we’ll be sending out a call for volunteers through the Secretary in the coming weeks. Also, the good folks at Prepair have reserved a few seats exclusively for AFC members! If you haven’t already registered, please look back in your e- mail for the Prepair message from Secretary Augie to get the link.

George’s Takeaway’s from Warren’s Training:
As a low time pilot, I’m always curious to know about the lessons that more experience pilots have learned over the course of their career. I’ve written some of the lessons I learned from Warren in bullets below, but I’d also like to hear from you! Feel free to send in your favourite lesson learned – or better yet, write an article for the newsletter to share with your fellow members.

  • Flying margins literally means you have left yourself no room for errors.
  • How many mistakes do you make before deciding not to fly?
  • Confirmation bias is when you choose to see what you believe rather than believe what you see.
  • Every problem is easier to solve on the ground.
  • You make better decisions when you are calm (as opposed to panicking)
  • Pride and fear can do harm – declare an emergency if you have to!

Best regards,
George

Airshow History Project

Airshow History Project
Some Members will be aware of the stone cairn outside the airport manager’s office at the terminal building. On it is a plaque which designates Abbotsford as Canada’s National Air Show. It was placed there in 1970 by Prime Minister P.E.Trudeau, and beneath the cairn there is a time capsule.
The time capsule is set to be opened after fifty years – which is next year, 2020. As yet we don’t know what sort of events will surround this, we don’t know what is in the time capsule, and we don’t know who will open it. Maybe it will be Justin Trudeau.
Thinking of this fiftieth anniversary of being Canada’s National Air Show made us realise the need for a concise history of the airshow since it began. And what better time than now to start the task. Our immediate plan is for a relatively compact book which lays out the timelines, developments and course of the main events, and which also highlights a selection of significant and memorable aspects of what the airshow has meant to those involved, whether as organisers, participants or spectators.
We have already started on the period 1962 to 1969, but our material is sparse. We need documentary material in particular – minutes and notes from meetings, organisational charts, memos, lists of performers and displays, timetables of events.  Some of this we already have, from the AIAS archives, but there are large gaps. There is very, very little material for the shows up to 1966 because the airshow society was only formed in order to make the 1967 show a Centennial event. So we need all the help we can get. Anything might help. We realise that some material is of value
as personal memorabilia – this can be copied and returned.
Any personal reminiscences will also be of interest.
At the moment our focus is on the 1960s. We will be asking for more recent material as we progress.
Please contact Millie Watson (Archivist for AFC and AIAS) or Steve Stewart (Chair of AIAS)