Edmonton International Airport raises improvement fee

By Dave S. Clark
YegNews.com

Flying out of the Edmonton International Airport will cost $5 more as the airport has announced today it will increase the Airport Improvement Fee as of January 1, 2011.

The increase will bring the fee to $25 – putting it level with Calgary, Toronto and Montreal airports.

Reg Milley, president and CEO of Edmonton Airports, said the increase is due to the lower than expected traffic the airport has seen over the past few years.

“This has quite a bit to do with the lower numbers we’ve seen because of the recession,” he said. “(The increase) is not something we enjoy doing or like doing and we’ve hung on and hung on from doing it until now.”

Every departing passenger who uses the airport pays the fee, and because of the lower passenger numbers, the airport needs to raise the fee to pay for its new expansion.

When the expansion is complete, it is estimated the airport will serve 6.9 million passengers per year, which is down from original estimates of 9 million passengers.

While the recession has had a negative impact on the airport’s revenues, Milley said it has had a very positive impact on the cost of building the expansion.

“We budgeted when the market was at a peak and we’re executing when it’s in a valley,” he said, estimating that the project will likely end up costing 25 per cent less than the originally estimated $1.1 billion.

Crews have also been very creative to save money on the project, according to Milley. When steel dropped in price, structures were re-engineered to take advantage of the lower price so steel could be used instead of more expensive products. Crews also stockpiled aggregate in the winter months when prices were cheaper because nobody was buying it.

When the expansion is complete, the airport will have more than a dozen more gates to accommodate more aircraft at peak times.

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