Thursday, September 22, 2011

British Columbia, Canada: Flights into Comox Valley Airport create economic spinoffs.

An economic impact study released late last week by the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ) shows that adding new flights would pump millions of dollars into the local economy.

The Comox Valley Airport released the results of a new economic impact study that demonstrates the extensive benefits to the local economy from potential new air service in the Comox Valley.

“An airport connects a community to the rest of the world and promotes economic well being within that community," said CEO Shirley de Silva. "The economic impact of a new air service is impressive and demonstrates what an important investment YQQ is for the Comox Valley as a whole. For example, establishing a once-daily service to the United States would result in more than $24 million in direct annual economic impact for this area.”

The study conducted by InterVISTAS Consulting Group reports on the direct impact a new air service would have on the airport and visitor spending in the Comox Valley.

InterVISTAS is a leading worldwide aviation consulting firm that conducts studies which document the wide ranging economic stimulus generated by an airport. The study completed for YQQ takes employment, wages, gross domestic product (GDP) and economic output into account.

“Each time a plane lands at YQQ, it generates labour hours for individuals involved in handling passengers, their baggage and the aircraft," said de Silva. "Direct impacts can also be attributed to businesses within the terminal building. The establishment of new air service at YQQ would also bring in more tourists who will spend money on food, lodging and entertainment in the Comox Valley region.”

The study looked at three potential scenarios and the associated economic benefit for each:

• A once-daily year-round domestic air passenger service operated with a 119-seat B737-600 aircraft;

• A once-daily year-round transborder air passenger service operated with a 70-seat Q400 aircraft;

• A once-weekly seasonal international air passenger service to Europe operated with a 250-seat aircraft.

The final report, which can be found at us/publications, details numerous findings, including the combined direct annual impact on the airport and visitor spending for each of the three potential new air service scenarios.

In pursuit of its strategic vision to expand air service, the Comox Valley Airport has been working for the past 10 months to identify and build business cases for possible new routes.

Following the release of this economic study, YQQ will now work to finalize an incentive program that will help strengthen its business case for airlines.

“Airlines must invest substantial upfront costs to initiate a new service," said de Silva. "As airlines face more and more pressure to decrease their costs, incentive policies are growing in popularity and magnitude around the world. Successful airports need successful and profitable aviation partners, and without them, we would be unable to justify our existence.”

YQQ will work with its community partners to obtain marketing support for any new service that is established in the community. This ensures a commitment for the airline that the airport and the community will work co-operatively to ensure the service is promoted within the community and that the Comox Valley is promoted as a destination for inbound tourists.

The airport will also look at its own fee structure and other incentive possibilities for airlines looking to establish new service at YQQ.

— Comox Valley Airport

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