Home' Asian Aviation : AAV May 2014 Contents AsianAviation | MAY 2014 21
The city of Edmonton has been the
powerhouse of the Canadian economy in
recent years, and believes it now has enough
critical mass to justify direct services to the
The catalyst for much of city's growth has been the
oil and gas industry -- but there is a lot more to it than,
explains Philip Herbert, Hong-Kong based advisor to
Edmonton International Airport.
"It is leading Canada by virtually every single
measure, whether its jobs, wages or investment," he
says. Going with that is a huge movement of labour
- 20% of the city's inhabitants moved into the city
during the last five years. And 20% are foreign-born.
Around 60% of international immigration is from
Asia, including the Philippines, India, and the single
largest ethnic group -- China. "This creates a strong
connection across the Pacific that is currently not
being served," says Herbert. "There is a fantastic
opportunity to connect an Asian hub to the Prairies
and North West Territory," he says.
Edmonton is the seat of government for the
Province of Alberta and is also a major university
town. The University of Alberta, located in the city,
has more Chinese post graduate students than any
university in Canada, Herbert says.
At the moment, most Asia-Pacific traffic goes
through Vancouver, and a significant amount also
goes via Europe, often with European airlines. "This is
a missed opportunity for Asian carriers," says Herbert.
Herbert says the Edmonton route would be
an opportunity for carriers that serve China, the
Philippines, Australia and the Indian subcontinent,
linking them to Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Herbert puts the total catchment area for Edmonton
at around 4 million people, noting that Canadians are
used to travelling large distances to get to airports.
"It would be a good opportunity for the network
carriers. It would be a good fit for Cathay Pacific or
China Southern -- these are some of the better fits
in terms of overall catchment area. But it could also
be covered over Shanghai by either Hainan Airlines
or China Eastern," says Herbert. "There are plenty
of opportunities to meet the needs of the market."
There are also good onward connections to the
US with 13 direct connections, with US Government
clearance taking place in Edmonton International
Airport. The airport has non-stop connections to
over 60 Canadian, US and international destinations,
including Los Angeles International, Chicago O'Hare,
San Francisco International, Newark Liberty and
London Heathrow. Some 35 non-stop destinations
have been added between 1996 and 2010.
In terms of the airport itself, passenger throughput
was just under 7 million in 2013 and this is expected
to rise to 10 million by the end of the decade.
Passenger volumes have doubled since 2004.
It is North America's northernmost major airport,
located on the polar route, with "industry leading cold
weather operations", says Herbert.
The most recent expansion project in 2012
included a new terminal, adding 43,000m2 metres
of space and creating nine new aircraft bridges (for
a total of 26, with space to add four more). It also
included a new air traffic control centre, plus new
baggage handling facilities.
It is certified for Code F operations, which means it
can handle the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8. It has
two runways: one of 3,109m and the other 3,351m.
A third 4,000m runway is planned for 2025. The
airport also has an FBO facility that saw throughput
of 715,000 last year -- mainly oil workers.
Air cargo is an important part of the mix - volumes
grew by 8.3% in 2013, six times the global average
of 1.4%. Total volumes have grown by 23% over
the past four years. As well as being a centre for
manufacturing for the oil and gas industry, Edmonton
also has a strong agri-business, with exports of beef,
horse and pork.
Cargo services include 11 airlines, eight integrated
couriers/freighter carriers; three independent cargo
handlers; and more than 40 freight forwarders and
customer brokers. There are six cargo-handling
terminals (including three with coolers/freezers).
Herbert says that the city and airport work very
closely with carriers and points to recently started
services of Icelandair to and from Reykjavik as an
example. "It's the first time I've seen a carrier make
improvements to their schedule before launch," he
says. They were initially going to be seasonal flights,
but this changed to year-round service and they also
increased frequencies, says Herbert. ✈
EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Edmonton looks to Asia
The Canadian city of Edmonton has seen an economic boom in recent years, and
had a stand at Routes Asia as part of its bid to attract direct trans-Paci c ights. Colin
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