Paul Vendittelli

Paul Vendittelli

YPR ready for any industry boom

City of Prince Rupert economic development officer Paul Vendittelli outlines the lengths YPR has undergone, and will undergo, to be ready

No more airport prison bus.

That was one of the main takeaways from the City of Prince Rupert’s Paul Vendittelli’s Chamber of Commerce April luncheon speech and certainly the one that received the most applause from the enthused audience in attendance.

During last Wednesday’s gathering, which also hosted the Chamber’s annual general meeting (AGM), city economic development officer Paul Vendittelli provided an update on the Prince Rupert Airport (YPR) and its optimistic future.

“The old Highway coach bus and the prison bus as we all know it are officially retired,” said Vendittelli.

“So you can expect to see some new busses here [within two weeks] … and we’re trying to get the busses moving within 20 minutes of getting off your flight.”

The new busses and the recently completed airport shuttle centre are some of the immediate changes to the airport to improve one of the most unique flyine experiences in Canada, but more is in the works for its efficiency. The end result of those ambitious plans are still up in the air.

In the midst of completing a major renovation on the terminal itself, expected to be finished by the end of the month, the airport includes brand new washrooms, new offices, a luggage conveyor belt, a passenger-holding capacity increase from 100 fliers to 200 per hour, earthquake-proofing technology and new furnace heating and cooling systems. But even more is in store for the airport on Digby Island.

Working with WSP, a global engineering firm which has overseen 600 airport projects, the city has drafted an Airport Master Plan – the first of its kind for the Prince Rupert Airport – to develop different operating scenarios for current and future operations.

Currently, the airport has a 6,000-foot runway (150-feet wide), high-intensity runway lights and can handle aircraft such as the Airbus 320 family, Boeing 737s, Bombardier Dash 8s and the Bombardier Q400s. A paved apron providing for two aircraft parking slots is completed and the building features an automated weather observation system. The airport’s capacity for the number of aircraft movements or annual service volume (ASV) for the airport stands at 220,000 and currently has 3,000 aircraft movements, well below capacity.

“The airfield can meet movement demands without diverse effects of aircraft operations and without incurred operational delays,” said Vendittelli.

The economic development officer detailed two of five expansion scenarios for the airport developed by WSP.

With each potential LNG project moving forward and with a positive FID (final investment decision), more needs to be done to make sure the airport can handle the added stresses of having numerous workers come in and out of the city.

“Scheduled traffic will increase sharply as soon as construction gets underway. Each project will require a substantial amount of corporate and supplier activity. What we see with the plan, work charters will be processed through a separate facility and not impact the passenger terminal facility and once traffic reaches 100,000 passengers [per year] it’s expected that WestJet would begin service into the area. Air Canada is ready to move for any rapid growth. They’ve added a third flight this summer and are watching what’s been going on in the area in case we get a positive FID,” Vendittelli said.

Currently, the Prince Rupert Airport handles 60,000-65,000 passengers per year.

An additional LNG processing facility is proposed to be constructed to support construction workers working in Prince Rupert on a rotational basis.

“It is proposed that this facility be accommodated within a structure that could be reused for other purposes … like an aircraft hanger, warehousing airport garage, etc…” he said.

Another scenario would involve 25-30 years of city growth and have additional buildings, fire services, an extended runway (7,500 feet) to accommodate fully fuelled aircraft travelling to eastern Canada such as Ontario, and an airport access route with continuous ferry service and short road networks to Digby Island (a bridge crossing) and new infrastructure like drive-able access to Metlakatla and road connections to Tuck Inlet and Lax Kw’alaams.

This access project is already in the early stages by the city, which has reached out to the province acquire a Prince Rupert Area Corridor Analysis (PRACA). That report, which cost the province more than $1 million, will be officially announced at a later date by the city, said Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain at the lunch.

“The airport is ready for increased passenger traffic, we have a brand new building and if we get a positive FID, we will be looking at constructing new facilities to process those workers and the runway is ready. The airport itself can handle any new developments that are coming into the area,” Vendittelli said.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

Prince Rupert lawyer, Donald A. Silversides has been appointed to the BC Liberals Election Organizing Committee, announced the party on Jan 21. (Contributed photo)
Don Silversides appointed to BC Liberal election organizing committee

Prince Rupert lawyer is the current BC Liberals acting president

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Rose Sawka, a 91-year old Acropolis Manor resident received her COVID-19 vaccination on Jan. 20, one day after an outbreak was declared at the long-term care facility. Her son Terry Sawka visited with her through the window, like she is seen in an Oct. 2020 photo. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Acropolis Manor COVID-19 cases jump to 20 confirmed

Prince Rupert long term care facility received vaccinations

Illicit drug use has spread in the Northern Health region and overdose emergency calls increased in Prince Rupert by 29.5 per cent from 2019 to 2020. (Photo:THE NEWS/files)
Overdose emergency calls in Prince Rupert spikes by 43.6 % in five years

Northern Health issues illicit drug use warnings

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm, the company’s final B.C. operation to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is questioning a government decision to phase out salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)
Canadian Federation of Agriculture backs B.C. salmon farmers

Letter to prime minister calls for federal “champion” for aquaculture growth

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read