Opening and expanding international markets for B.C.'s goods and services is one of the pillars of the BC Jobs Plan. The Connecting with the World Aviation Strategy for British Columbia is critical to making the province more competitive in the global aviation market and attracting a growing share of Asia Pacific passenger and cargo business.
Earlier this year, the B.C. government eliminated the jet fuel tax for international flights, providing greater financial certainty for airlines, allowing them to invest in expansion with more confidence and saving them thousands of dollars per day on long-haul flights. This change increases B.C.'s competitiveness and brings the province in line with the neighbouring jurisdictions of Alberta, Washington and California, which do not have a comparable fuel tax.
There are 38 certified airports in B.C. serving the passenger and cargo transportation needs of B.C. In total, more than 300 airports, heliports and water aerodromes, together with airlines, aerospace companies and their supporting industries, make up B.C.'s aviation sector. The sector promotes local economies by increasing access to remote job sites for B.C. workers and supporting access to local tourist destinations. It also plays a key role in every region of the province by supporting emergency services, such as medevac and firefighting.
Every community in B.C. will benefit from new job opportunities, expanded air services and increased access to international markets. Increasing B.C.'s competitiveness in the international marketplace and opening up new markets will bring more business into the province and affect every sector of the economy, including tourism, oil, natural gas, mining and international education, to name a few.
Today's announcement coincides with the completion of a number of significant upgrades at Langley Regional Airport. Since 2004, the B.C. government has provided $853,000 toward the construction of a taxiway and serviced lots, and for paving the airport's second runway. That investment, through the Transportation Partnerships Program, was matched by the airport, and the Township of Langley along with the private sector. Since then, the private sector has invested more than $14 million in facilities at the airport.
One of the major employers at Langley Regional Airport is Vector Aerospace, with more than 100 employees providing maintenance, repair and overhaul services for helicopters. Today, the company announced plans to expand their facilities and add another 80 jobs to its workforce.
This is an example of foreign investment in B.C. that is directly related to provincial policy that underpins the aviation strategy.
The B.C. government has invested $65.5 million to improve 36 airports throughout the province in the past decade, including significant projects in Prince George, Kamloops, Cranbrook, Campbell River, Comox, Castlegar, Kelowna, Abbotsford and Langley.
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Mary Polak -
"Aviation is critical to help bring new investment into our economy and to create and protect jobs for families in every region of the province. B.C. has the potential to be a pre-eminent aviation gateway between Asia and the Americas."
"Through the B.C. aviation strategy, we can strengthen and grow our aviation sector, support the BC Jobs Plan, help B.C. move goods to international markets and further open our Province to investment."
Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese -
"The aviation industry is thriving in the Township of Langley and the Langley Regional Airport is a true asset to our community. Offering transportation, employment and education, it is a facility we are very proud of. With the Province's aviation strategy and recent improvements made to the airport, we look forward to building on that success, creating as many as 200 more jobs and enhancing the movement of people and products."
Vancouver Airport Authority president and CEO Larry Berg -
"New air services and increased flight frequencies bring jobs and economic growth to British Columbia's economy. I commend the government of British Columbia for eliminating the aviation fuel tax for international flights."
"More than 23,000 people work at Vancouver International Airport, and every new daily international flight creates between 150-200 airport jobs. The government's fuel tax relief, combined with the Airport Authority's five-year incentive program, encourages airlines to add capacity and routes and helps keep B.C.'s airports competitive."
Vector Aerospace president of helicopter services North America Paul Cockell -
"Vector Aerospace has been associated with the Langley Regional Airport since the 1980's, and we are pleased with its continued support of the aviation industry. We are proud of our success and look forward to many more years of business growth in co-operation with the Township of Langley."
View the aviation strategy at:
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure