The Langley Regional Airport is about to see explosive growth – so much growth it may soon run out of land for expansion.
The projects range from new hangars to runway upgrades, and the airport staff hope to soon announce news about a tower and terminal project.
Most of the projects deal with Langley Airport’s specialty.
“Langley Airport is all about helicopters,” said airport manager Guy Miller.
Two new helicopter maintenance firms are relocating to the airport, Avanti Aerospace and Engineering and Golden Arrow.
With Vector Aerospace about to finish its large helicopter maintenance building, those additions will finish off the entire Northside section of developments.
Meanwhile, construction crews are just waiting for good weather to begin pouring concrete for 31 new hangars near the north runway.
All the hangar spaces are sold already, before the foundations have been poured, Miller said.
“We’re probably in a growth phase that is unprecedented for this airport,” said Miller.
The Northside developments and the new hangars are the larges projects currently underway, but there are several others, said Miller.
• Skyway Street, the oldest on the airport, is being rebuilt, with three-phase power installed for the businesses, LED light posts, repaving, and new sidewalks.
• Existing taxiways just had a major repaving project that finished last summer.
• The airport has three grant requests filed with the provincial government – one is for new solar-powered runway lighting for the east-west runway.
• Finally, the airport’s staff are in negotiations with Nav Canada, the agency that operates air traffic control towers across the country, for a new tower.
That may include a new terminal building.
Both the existing terminal and the tower date back to the 1960s, and Miller would like the opportunity to update their space.
“We are in need of new facilities, because we have outgrown these,” Miller said.
There are no major meeting rooms in the old offices, which are only accessible by an outdoor staircase.
“Space has become an issue,” Miller said.
The ultimate aim of the expansion is to bring in more businesses and more jobs.
When Vector opens this year, the number of employees at various businesses around the airport will jump to about 880, said Miller.
The last comprehensive study of the airport’s economic impact showed it brought $158 million into Langley.
That’s with a budget for airport operations of around $1.5 million.
The airport is owned and operated by Langley Township, but is self-sustaining. Airport management sometimes receives loans for new equipment from the Township, but pays it back out of operational funds over time.
Many other projects are either privately built – by firms that lease land at the airport – or are funded through provincial infrastructure grants, like some recent repaving.
If everything goes as planned, within a year or two the only spaces remaining for growth at the airport will be existing sites that will have to be redeveloped.