Airport Embarks on Next 10-Year Capital Plan

Posted: 5 August 2010 | Halifax Stanfield International Airport (HSIA) | No comments yet

As part of its planning for the next phase of improvements to HSIA, the Halifax International Airport Authority is developing its next 10-year Capital Plan to improve passenger safety…

As part of its planning for the next phase of improvements to Halifax Stanfield International Airport, the Halifax International Airport Authority is developing its next 10-year Capital Plan (2011-2020) to improve passenger safety, help reduce flight delays, develop new revenue streams, and continue to upgrade its facilities to expand current services and enhance the passenger/visitor experience.

“Halifax Stanfield International Airport (HSIA) is one of the most critical pieces of transportation infrastructure in Atlantic Canada,” says Tom Ruth, President & CEO of Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA). “Over half of all the air passengers and air cargo that move in our region pass through our airport. We’ve accomplished a lot since the airport was transferred from the federal government 10 years ago but there is more to be done to ensure HSIA continues to be a key driver in regional economic growth.”

HIAA’s comprehensive new 10-year Capital Plan will be finalized this fall, although its development has already identified several major infrastructure improvements, including:

  • the purchase of several new pieces of state-of-the-art snow and ice control equipment to significantly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of this crucial element of airfield safety management;
  • Terminal Building expansion of domestic/international check-in hall creating a higher volume, more efficient check-in process; expansion of the Terminal Building at the north end in anticipation of additional flights from European Union nations under Canada’s liberalized air access agreement with them, and additional U.S. preclearance flights; expansion of the south end of the building to accommodate additional jet bridges; expansion of retail/food & beverage locations post-security; and
  • the phased development of commercial, revenue-generating lots on airport property between the Terminal Building and Highway 102.

“These improvements are required to meet the needs of our current and future passengers and visitors, allowing us to compete effectively for new business anticipated from Canada’s “Blue Sky” initiative with the European Union, and to adapt to the long-term needs of our airline partners,” says Ruth.

There are three ways major Canadian airports like Halifax Stanfield can fund necessary capital improvements – reinvest operating surpluses, borrow, and use the Airport Improvement Fee (AIF). Like other airports, HIAA uses all three. Operating surpluses will continue to be reinvested; a bond issue is planned for later this year; and the AIF is being changed to $20 from $15, effective January 1, 2011. This change will be reflected on airline tickets sold on or after October 1, 2010 for Halifax passengers whose flight departs on or after January 1, 2011.

Like 50 other Canadian airports, HIAA uses the revenue from the AIF to help fund its airport improvement program. Projects at HSIA to be funded by the AIF are determined through a consultation process with the airlines that serve Halifax. The AIF, which is added to the price of each originating airline ticket, is collected by the airlines.

“Responsible, effective management of the growth and development of the airport is essential to ensure its long-term financial health,” says Ruth. “We are committed to providing the necessary infrastructure, both as Nova Scotia’s principal air connection to the world and as a huge economic engine for our community. This new 10-Year Capital Plan will help us fulfill these responsibilities.”

“Management of this critical asset requires that we budget and manage our resources to create modest annual surpluses, allowing us to maintain moderate aeronautical fees charged to airlines to enhance our competitive position; maintain our A+ credit rating; and maintain a debt per enplaned passenger ratio that is below the average of the other major airports in Canada,” adds Ruth.

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