Charlottetown airport facing $20 million in capital projects

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George MacDonald, left, board member, and Doug Newson, CEO, attended the annual general meeting of the Charlottetown Airport Authority this week at the Charlottetown Airport.

The Charlottetown airport could be in for more upgrades as the organization that runs it considers about $20 million in capital spending over the next few years.

Doug Newson, the Charlottetown Airport Authority’s CEO, said that includes repaving the main runway within the next five years, which could cost about $7 million.

The spending is based on projections for future needs and the airport authority expects to spend $1.6 million in 2014, Newson said.

“Really we’re working on a year-to-year basis.”

Newson was at the airport Tuesday where he presented the Charlottetown Airport Authority’s 2013 annual report, which showed a $1.7-million surplus.

Thanks to revenues, the airport authority has been able to set aside a lot of money for capital projects, Newson said.

“The air traffic and other things will dictate what the financials do in the next couple of years. If we have to borrow money we’ll look at that as an option.”

Traffic through the airport was down about less than 0.5 per cent over 2012, although Newson said July and August saw record highs and could be higher this year thanks to the P.E.I. 2014 celebrations.

“We expect those numbers to continue to grow in 2014.”

That extra traffic could help pay for capital projects that include a natural gas conversion the airport is working on, which Newson said is in the study phase and could see not only the airport switch to natural gas for heat, but also some of the neighbouring businesses as well.

The gas would be shipped to P.E.I. by truck and could make the business park more attractive thanks to cost savings of about 30 per cent over burning oil, Newson said.

“There would be some huge savings there from an oil burning perspective.”

Despite the positive financial picture, the airport was no exception when it came to increased costs for snow removal thanks to a long winter and although it spent more than expected, Newson said he didn’t know by exactly how much yet.

“We don’t have a number to put on it right now but I can tell you it was up significantly.”

Organizations: Charlottetown Airport Authority

Geographic location: Charlottetown, P.E.I.

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