[Stephenville, NL] — The outlook for Stephenville International Airport in 2013 appears positive.
That’s according to Brenda Martin, chief executive officer and general manager of the (Newfoundland & Labrador) airport.
She said that, under the direction of the new Stephenville Airport Corporation board of directors, 2012 was a planning and positioning year.
“Our focus has been on our team, projects to improve revenue, managing expenses and carrying out maintenance improvements to our infrastructure,” Martin said.
Currently the airport employs 15 people directly, but airport services and the facility employ about 68 people. These services include Marine Institute’s Safety and Emergency Response Training Centre, College of the North Atlantic’s Emergency Management facility, a taxi and bus service, along with a car rental agency.
The airport offers scheduled passenger services provided by Provincial Airlines and seasonal services by Sunwing Airlines, along with various non-scheduled charters.
Stephenville airport provides refueling under contract with Shell Canada and ground handling services to corporate, military, general aviation and other customers. The airport provides quick turn refueling, ground handling, catering facilitation and a host of other services.
Martin said due to the good weather and large carrying capacity, Stephenville International Airport is an alternate for technical stop traffic. This reliability is an asset when marketing Newfoundland airports to the aviation industry.
Efforts are ongoing to increase air access and capacity to service the western and southwestern communities in Newfoundland. Business cases to airline carriers are focused on three routes, including: enhanced services to St. John’s; a new route to Labrador; and a new route westbound to Halifax, that would give global connectivity.
Martin said to improve revenue the airport has been successful in the extension of a contract for another five years with the Marine Institute of Memorial University in the Safety and Emergency Response Training Centre. This centre provides safety and emergency response training, including crash firefighting training and re-certification training for the aviation sector.
In relation to new business, the Stephenville Airport Corporation has partnered with the Town of Stephenville and the College of North Atlantic to become a central command and control facility responsible for carrying out the principals of emergency preparedness, emergency management and disaster management functions.
Stephenville airport is the location that delivers training to a targeted audience both within and outside the province. Martin said funding programs, in partnership with The Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency are providing new opportunities for the airport and communities in the region to increase air capacity, encourage new routes and increase demand for air service.
She said Newfoundland and Labrador’s high potential resource investment has allowed the airport to benefit from the exploration and development projects already underway. The airport corporation is working cooperatively with the Town of Stephenville and other western and southwestern municipalities and project developers in the natural resources sectors to enhance business, trade and investment opportunities at the airport.
Martin said staff at the airport is to be commended for their efforts in cross training. She said this has helped tremendously as the airport rebrands and rebuilds, laying the foundation for a sustainable operation.