Supporting Our Industry's COVID Recovery
For perhaps the first time in our 83 year history, the BC Aviation Council has made a submission to the Provincial Budget Consultative Process. While aviation and aerospace are regulated federally, there are four key initiatives the provincial government could implement to support our sector - and the cost relative to the 44,000 direct jobs and $12.6 billion in GDP impact is minimal. The question remains, can this be accomplished soon enough to help save our decimated industry?
The BC Aviation Council is currently focussed on two issues. One, the potential decommissioning of the Golden Airport and two, the survival and recovery of the province's essential aviation and aerospace industry.
BCAC also continues its webinar programming with a presentation for individuals in aviation and aerospace on personal finances by the Youth Engagement Committee (YEC). It is open to all. This is very timely for all those whose studies or careers have been disrupted by COVID. The YEC has also officially launched its Mentorship program, again something in high demand due to COVID-19.
Potential Decommissioning of the Golden Airport
The Council is extremely concerned about the future of Municipal Airports - especially since they are not eligible for Federal COVID support programs. While a feasibility review of the Golden Airport was in the works before COVID, the Coronavirus definitely does not help the situation the airport finds itself in.
The Township Chief Administrative Officer's letter summarizing the airport feasibility review is attached. HM Aero is the consultancy that is conducting the review. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Ben is their Planner-Aviation and a pilot. The Council has already submitted several economic impact studies, presentations and contact information for people that should be interviewed.
Golden is on the General Aviation flightpath through the Rockies both east-west and north-south. It is home to two helicopter operators and fire suppression operations. If decommissioned, its Medevac operations would be probably be served out of Cranbrook and Calgary, both over 2:30 hours away.
If the Township focussed on the airport and fully integrates it into the rest of the community's infrastructure, it should become a key socio-economic driver for the region. Let's hope the feasibility study presents such a bright future.
Article on the situation available here. Article by COPA is here.
If you have views on this issue, BCAC would love to hear them as the Council will be making a submission to the consultant and the Township on the matter.
Our thanks to Tim Cole of the BCAC Board for being on top of this issue plus our COVID Strategic Response Team.
Submission to BC Budget 2021
Drawing from our recent COVID ask letter to the provincial government, the following 2021 budget submission was made to the British Columbia Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. In addition to this, the Tourism Industry Association of B.C. (TIABC) made a submission which included supporting the small community and regional airport sector due to the key role they play in tourism throughout the province. TIABC's submission is available here.
June 26th, 2020
Re: Budget 2021 Consultation
Dear Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services:
First, on behalf of B.C.'s aviation and aerospace industries, the British Columbia Aviation Council would like to thank the provincial government for its leadership in these difficult times. Your commitment to the citizens and businesses of British Columbia is reassuring and the Council takes some solace knowing our government is fighting for us. In particular, the Council would like to thank the management and staff of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Air Services Branch for their rapid engagement with our industry's needs. Their dedication is most appreciated.
The BC Aviation Council would like to alert you to our industry’s situation. In 2019, the provincial aviation and aerospace industry directly employed over 44,000 professionals and contributed $12.6 billion in Gross Domestic Product. However, our previously healthy industry is now decimated. With the current (and necessary) COVID-19 restrictions in force, business in British Columbia’s aviation sector was down over 93 percent in April and May 2020. It is forecast that whatever is left of the aviation sector will be rebuilding throughout 2021 and beyond. This will have severe negative impacts on our provincial economy.
Regional scheduled services are decimated – with several small, remote and Indigenous communities losing scheduled air services completely. This regional system is an essential service for most communities, and a critical component of the National Civil Aviation Transportation System. Extra help is required to ensure essential services survive and rebuild so they can provide those critical services in support of regional recovery. The upcoming budget must help the aviation industry rebuild so it can serve the regions of the province that are so dependent on it.
British Columbia is home to 172 air operators, 42 flying schools and over 100 highly active aerospace organizations. Many of these are essential small businesses working to survive in a capital intensive industry with substantial fixed costs. They do not have the cash reserves, especially after dealing with COVID-19, to carry them through a protracted recovery. A large number are unlikely to survive.
While this is a very grim picture, the aviation industry is entrepreneurial and resilient. With some focussed support, regional services can recover quicker and so will the provincial economy which depends on it.
This leads us to several specific requests to assist with COVID-19 recovery:
• Provide low barrier forgivable business loans or grants to essential small or regional air operators and aircraft maintenance providers to cover such costs as increasing NAV CANADA charges, airport charges, aviation fuel excise taxes, rent and ground handling fees while they rebuild their provincial networks in 2021. This will accelerate recovery of not only the aviation sector but the tourism sector and regional development as well.
• Increase funding for Destination BC to stimulate domestic travel, as well as to support international tourism to Canada from various countries as soon as they safely open up.
• Double the $8.5 million funding for the British Columbia Air Access Program (BCAAP) and increase the program’s contribution to airport projects to 95 percent. This will assist our communities’ airports with rebuilding their infrastructure after a year of practically no capital expenditures and ensure that the highest possible safety standards are upheld. Many of our province’s airports are in dire need of this program’s support – especially municipal airports which were not eligible for any Federal COVID-19 programs.
Flight Training Units – Flying Schools (including both private training organizations and public post secondary institutes)
• Increase the amount of Student Aid available for domestic Students to reflect the approximately $85,000 commercial pilot license program cost. This will put our training on an equal footing with Alberta. Supporting domestic post-secondary demand for these institutions will accelerate flight training schools recovery and provide the resources required to rebuild our substantial higher education exports in this area.
In closing, the Council wishes to emphasize our key message that the regional aviation and aerospace industry is recovering from near collapse. Support for the aviation sector is required in 2021 so that air services can facilitate the rebuilding of our provincial economy. The costs of the recommendations outlined above are extremely small relative to the 44,000 British Columbians employed directly by our industry and the $12.6 billion in GDP supported by our province’s aviation and aerospace infrastructure.
Heather Bell Chair
Upcoming and Recent Webinars/Events of Interest
The BC Aviation Council Youth Engagement Committee Tuesday July 7th at noon is holding the second webinar in their Youth Learning Series. This webinar is on personal finances for people in aviation and aerospace. Register here. Attendance is limited to 100 participants with BCAC members having priority. Webinar is open to all - especially those displaced recently by COVID-19.
The first webinar in this series, focussed on resumé construction and interviewing techniques, is available in the resources section of the BCAC website.
BCAC's Joint Webinar with BC Economic Development Association and Tourism Industry Association of BC went extremely well with over 155 registrants. Skies Magazine ran a detailed article by Lisa Gordon on the webinar which can be viewed here. If you could not attend, we encourage you to review the article. It is extremely well done.
BCAC Successfully Ran Its First Virtual AGM. Copy of the 2019 annual report, "A Good Year", is attached to this eNewsletter. Topics covered included how the BCAC is dealing with COVID-19, an overview of our new five year strategic plan, the Chair's report, a detail review by the Executive Director, replacement of three Directors, solid financial statements and passing of a $2000 airport operations scholarship by the Airport Committee. Sixty-five people registered for the event.
The AGM presentations are attached to this Frequent Flyer.
If you have topics you'd like addressed in future COVID webinars, contact us at Dave@BCAviationCouncil.org
If you like the proactive approach the BC Aviation Council is taking tackling COVID-19, support our efforts by becoming a student (free), recent graduate ($20/year), individual ($100/year) or corporate ($500/year) member. Many people and companies are. The Council only exists because of, and for, you.
Silver Wings 2020 and Airports, Aviation, Aerospace Conference 2021
In case you hadn't guessed it, there is a 99% chance this year's Silver Wings Industry and Scholarship Awards Celebration will be postponed until 2021 and/or will go virtual.
Save the date: Our Airports, Aviation, Aerospace Spring Conference will be held May 16-18, 2021 at the Laurel Point In in Victoria. We are in the process of confirming that the F.O.A.M. conference will immediately follow. The 2021 critical theme remains the same - reducing our industry's environmental footprint.
Survey for the Day - review the potential federal social media ad on preventing COVID. It is important that our voices are heard.
Congratulations to Reg Krake, past BCAC Director and past Chair Membership Committee on being appointed as the new Executive Director for ARC. His mandate includes expanding the highly successful SOGI program in B.C. schools right across the country.
BC Economic Development Association Resources
Richmond Economic Development Office Resources List
Transport Canada's COVID-19 Measures, Updates and Guidance
Government of Canada Resources Gateway
BC's Restart Plan
Provincial Air Services Branch
Join the Listing of Aviation and Aerospace Companies Still Operating (Skies Magazine)
Sourcing PPE - Rapid Response Platform Find suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment.
Small Business BC - Find a PPE Supplier
Canada COVID-19 Situational Awareness Dashboard
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Infographic
Coronavirus cases identified on flights at YVR in June: BCCDC
Temperature screening to be required for travellers at Canadian airports
Grand Opening of the Trail Municipal Airport
WestJet Staff Took Over A Totally Empty YVR & Had An Epic Dance Party (VIDEO)
Business advisory council gives private sector ‘a voice’ in reopening plan. Northern Air Transportation Association included on NWT business reopening Council.
Swoop Seeks Airport Partners to Lead Economic Recovery
Leaky exhaust system likely caused plane crash that killed B.C. pilot in Australia
What is an ‘air bridge’? Meaning behind UK travel quarantine plan – and the countries on list of exemptions. Also called a travel bubble. Need to safely introduce this concept to start opening up international markets.
B.C. health officials worried about airlines’ plans to reduce physical distancing
Canada Proposes BVLOS Drone Operations Up To 1430 Pounds. BCAC needs to facilitate open dialogue between all viewpoints and parties involved with drones to increase awareness of this highly disruptive technology.
All good things and be safe.