Airport lease extended another six months

The sign in front of Sarnia's Chris Hadfield Airport. (Photo from the City of Sarnia's facebook page)

Scottsdale Aviation can relax for six months.

Sarnia council extended its lease with the operator of Sarnia’s Chris Hadfield Airport until March 31, 2022, and approved recommendations from the Airport Action Working Group to strengthen the airport’s future Monday.

Director of Economic Development Kelly Provost told council they’ll be seeking out an expert in the field now.

“That person hasn’t been identified yet, but we would be looking to engage with an expert, who has aviation related experience, to help us be able to validate some of these ideas,” said Provost. “Although the group is very talented, and educated, and has put together a wonderful report, there’s some specific pieces around trends related to the industry and its connectivity that we wanted to ensure we would be able to bring to the lens of these recommendations.”

The group believes the airport’s future success requires a return to moving over 30,000 passengers a year, securing more than one airline carrier, accommodating executive aircraft and developing a “Chris Hadfield Air and Space Centre” for aviation activities and special events at the airport.

Councillor Bill Dennis was impressed by the vision.

“I was just recently at the London airport and took notice first hand at what was done there,” said Dennis. “The London airport has some very impressive statistics. It was the second fastest growing airport in 2019 and the top ten employer in London, Ontario in 2019 as well. I also note that in a typical year it generates over $600 million in local economic impact and I’m anxious to see if we can work towards similar impressive results locally.”

Council has asked staff to prepare an annual budget request and business case report for each recommendation proposed.