EIA embracing innovation in 2020 for future growth
Airport continues to target new flights, jobs and opportunities for greater region
January 30, 2020 (Edmonton, AB) – New destinations, new restaurants and a focus on embracing a digital future will define 2020 and beyond for Edmonton International Airport (EIA).
Final numbers for 2019 show EIA served 8.15 million passengers and continued to see strong investments in Airport City with the opening of Century Mile Racetrack and Casino, the new Fairfield by Marriott EIA, the Aurora Polaris expansion and the completion of the Shell Aviation fuel tank farm. EIA also finished work and, in partnership with CATSA, opened its new Central Security Hall, to create a better passenger experience by increasing space 280 per cent.
It was a challenging year for the entire aviation industry with the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max airplanes, which reduced service across the sector. Despite this, several new EIA non-stop passenger flights began, were announced or confirmed, including:
- KLM continues to serve EIA on a year-round basis up to four times a week
- Icelandair is resuming service at EIA from May 15 to September 19 flying four times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday).
- Air Canada’s San Francisco service continues to be a popular route into California as well as their strong regional service throughout Canada.
- John’s, N.L. with WestJet, Seasonal summer service
- London, Ont. and Orlando, Florida with Swoop, seasonal
- Kamloops in April 2020 and San Diego in May 2020 with Swoop; as well, Swoop added non-stop flights to Mexico for winter 2019/2020 operating to Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas
- In addition to low cost carrier Swoop, Flair Airlines continues to offer strong Canadian service and we look forward to continued growth in 2020.
- Frankfurt, Germany with Condor Airlines starting June 2020 Mondays and Thursdays
As a new decade begins, EIA’s forward vision is dubbed Innovation Expansion, and this year will see work begin to make the terminal more efficient and embrace a variety of digital technologies that will improve services for passengers. Innovation Expansion at EIA is a long-term strategy designed to maximize existing space to accommodate more passengers to meet the goal of serving 10 million passengers as well as generating $3.88 billion in annual economic output by 2025.
“Our mission is to drive prosperity in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region through flights, cargo and business development. We believe in the innovation and economic diversification of the communities we serve, so we have set ambitious goals to support them.”
- Tom Ruth, President and CEO, Edmonton International Airport
On the business side, EIA maintained its cargo volumes, even posting a modest increase of 0.3 per cent to 43,000 tons moving through EIA in 2019, despite a world-wide air cargo decrease of approximately 5 per cent.
Cargo highlights included:
- Two new, two-million litre Shell Aviation fuel tanks completed construction at EIA specifically to support increasing air cargo activity.
- Air Canada completed a new, 50,000 sq. ft. ground support equipment and cargo facility.
- EIA opened a “Fresh Cargo Centre” 5,000 sq. ft. cooler facility that will be used jointly by cargo carriers for perishable goods.
Other highlights for 2019 include:
- EIA and Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) entered into an agreement which will make EIA a hub for drone cargo deliveries in western and northern Canada
- EIA welcomed the opening of the new Century Mile Racetrack and Casino including food and entertainment facilities with slot machines
- K5 Investment Group opened their new, five-storey, 135-room Fairfield by Marriott EIA
- New retail services including Sleep Country, Booster Juice, Fat Burger, Starbucks, colorworks and Wendys
- Edge4Vets program to connect former and currently serving military members with employers in the civilian aviation industry
- Elevate Aviation completed the first year of its Learning Centre at EIA, which is an immersive learning program focused on showcasing aviation careers to women and underrepresented groups. The first-of-its-kind program welcomed 400 participants in 2019, 50 per cent of whom, were female.
Overall passenger numbers were 8,151,532 enplaned and deplaned passengers. Fixed Base Operator (charter flight) passenger numbers increased by 16.7 per cent over the previous year.
Commercial development at EIA supports air service by attracting new passengers and services, and by providing revenue that is reinvested into the airport. In addition to that there has been more than one billion dollars of private investment in new development at EIA since 2013, the trend of strong development will continue into 2020.
Chinese firm Plant Box and Edmonton International Airport (EIA) signed an agreement making the airport the North American entry point and logistical hub for Plant Box, as well as home for its main manufacturing and distribution centre in North America.
Aurora Cannabis has opened the 320,000 square-foot Aurora Polaris facility at EIA to produce edibles and other value-added products as well as enhance the company’s research and development and global packaging, warehousing and shipping operations.
Travellers in the EIA Domestic/International passenger lounge will be able to enjoy the Canadian Brewhouse from either the secured airside International/Domestic Departures Lounge or on the ground side on the Departures Level next to Central Security.
EIA opened a “Fresh Cargo Centre” cooler facility that will be used jointly by cargo carriers. With 5,000 sq. ft. of refrigerated warehouse space and direct airside access, the facility is ideally suited for the handling of perishable cargo such as pharma, meat, fruit and produce. Alberta products are already moving through this facility to international markets.
Runway Developments’ 25,000-square-foot Logistics Centre welcomed its newest tenant, ExpAir Cargo, regarded as one of the most important companies in the cargo industry for their range of destinations and products offered. Other logistics centre tenants include Flying Fresh Air Freight, Farrow and Livingston International.
In the air, mainstay carriers, Air Canada, AF/KLM, Canadian North, Cargojet, DHL, FedEx, Icelandair executed strong performance and their cargo services were supplemented by Nippon Cargo Airlines, Korean Air Cargo, Atlas Air and Air Bridge Cargo operating multiple transpacific and transatlantic charter services, continuing the expanding role of EIA as an international cargo centre.
All EIA cargo facilities operate within the airport’s Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), reducing trade barriers and enhancing access to key Canadian Markets. EIA is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week – with no curfews, operational restrictions or slot restrictions.
Technology and Innovation
Alberta Aerospace and Technology Centre partners at EIA initiated several new ventures:
- Aerium Analytics conducted the first ever night flight at a Canadian airport at EIA and conducted LIDAR surveys of EIA’s runways
- Absolute Combustion launched a 50 per cent more efficient, zero emissions aircraft heater at EIA
- Pegasus Imagery launched its new Hyperion drone capable of flying for up to 16 hours with a range of 800km.
- ACAMP ATV
Community, Art and Culture
EIA supports close to 100 causes, events and organizations in the Edmonton Metro Region and surrounding areas. A few highlights from 2019 include sponsoring events such as the Block Chain Symposium, Autism Society of Alberta, STARS Air Ambulance, children’s tent at the Edmonton Heritage Festival, Edmonton International Street Performers Festival, ITU, Ronald McDonald House, Woman of Vision, Compassion House, Dreams Take Flight, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation Calendar of Wishes. For the third time, EIA hosted a National Indigenous Peoples’ Day cultural showcase, featuring dance, music and art. EIA’s live music program continues to be a crowd pleaser as well as the permanent and rotational art program.
EIA joined country music superstar Paul Brandt in the #NotInMyCity campaign against human trafficking.
EIA, Autism Edmonton, Flair Airlines, Canadian North and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority held a mock travel day for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder as part of our joint commitment to making air travel accessible.
The Canadian Airports Council requested that EIA trial a program called Edge4Vets which helps retiring military members or former military members and their family members to find civilian employment and aviation employers to find quality employees.
EIA now has a pet relief room inside the terminal in the Domestic/International Departures Lounge located between Gate 52 and Gate 54. The room has artificial turf, a hose for cleaning, pet waste bag dispensers and a garbage can.
EIA’s maintenance team was presented with the Plant Engineering and Maintenance Association of Canada (PEMAC) Team of the Year Award in recognition of their proactive maintenance program.
The operations team was awarded the Balchen-Post award for excellence in snow and ice removal, for the second time; making EIA one of only two Canadian airports to win this award twice.
At the 2019 Airports Council International – North America (ACI_NA) Excellence in Airport Marketing, Communications, and Customer Service Awards, EIA received First Place for Print Communications, First Place for Radio Advertising and Second Place for Websites. At the ACI-NA Concessions Awards, EIA received First Place for Best Retail Program and Second Place for Best food and Beverage Program.
Brett Bain, EIA Director of Concessions, Parking and Ground Transportation was presented with the Canadian Parking Association Ed Keate Award. EIA was also recognized as one of Alberta’s Top 70 employers.
Great Regional Co-operation through the Airport Accord and Edmonton Global
There were continued strides in regional cooperation through the airport accord for the benefit of our travellers and citizens of the region. Notably the regional transit system, better connecting our communities to the airport, doubled its ridership.
Villeneuve Airport (ZVL)
Villeneuve Airport, a significant general aviation airport with 60,000 aircraft movements annually, continued to grow in 2019, helping to drive the local economy. Expansion of existing flight Training on site occurred with aim to increase over all flight training at ZVL.
A new connecting road at Villeneuve was completed in 2019, allowing free access to the entire airport, replacing an older road that intersected a taxiway.
Phase 2 of the Villeneuve airport expansion has opened, allowing developers to lease a new section of the airport and further planning is occurring on Water line connection and other developments.