The Trail Regional Airport will receive $180,000 from the provincial government to assist operations and keep flying through the pandemic.

The Trail Regional Airport will receive $180,000 from the provincial government to assist operations and keep flying through the pandemic.

Trail airport receives $180,000 provincial boost

Funding will help airports provide essential services to rural communities

Funding for three West Kootenay airports will help ensure they can provide essential services to rural communities.

The West Kootenay Regional Airport in Castlegar will receive $720,000, the Trail Regional Airport $180,000 and the Nakusp Airport $13,000 from the B.C. government to maintain services during the pandemic.

The funding is a one-time provincial operating grant to support ongoing essential medevac and passenger service operations of the airports.

“The Trail Regional Airport is a vital facility in our community,” said Mayor Lisa Pasin. “Although essential medevac and travel operations have continued throughout the pandemic, we saw a significant reduction in revenue over the last year as a result of the COVID-19 travel restrictions. The province’s grant funding will greatly assist in ensuring the continued operations and services of the airport, especially those services related to the necessary medevac operations.”

Quarterly reporting to the ministry is a requirement to fulfill the agreement with a final report due by April 12, 2022.

“We are thankful for this opportunity,” said Pasin. “We will provide all the necessary documents and data to ensure receipt of the funding. And, as always, we will continue to operate the airport with a high level of standard despite the current pandemic challenges.”

The NDP government announced one-time investments earlier this week, including $6.2M to various inter-city bus operators and $16.5M for regional airports, to support operations between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.

Inter-city bus operators and regional airports will use the funds to pay for operating costs, like maintenance expenses for buses, air terminals and runways; as well as for payroll, rent and other overhead costs that keep these services operating.

“People who work in or rely on community airports know how difficult this past year has been,” Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy said March 25. “We’re making sure that people across the Kootenay West riding will still have access to the services they need and jobs they and their families rely on by supporting local airports.”

Conroy says funding for Kootenay West airports will help them stay open so people can travel for essential purposes and access the services they need.

This support is to help companies weather the challenges due to decreased ridership brought on by the COVID-19 and help them plan for a post-pandemic world.

Airports have experienced a significant decrease in operating revenues that, without financial help, could affect their ability to support and sustain fire suppression and essential medical evacuation services.

Funding will be used to maintain air terminals, runways and other operations for the essential movement of goods and people.

The announcement is part of BC’s $10 billion COVID response, which includes the StrongerBC for Everyone recovery plan — a plan that protects people’s health and livelihoods while supporting businesses and communities.

“Our government is working to keep vital services operating during this unprecedented time, and this funding will help British Columbians – especially those in rural areas of the province – have a safe and reliable way to travel to essential appointments,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“We know inter-city bus companies and regional airports were in critical need of funding to keep their operations going during COVID-19. With this investment, inter-city buses and regional airports will now have the funding they need to continue operating and serving people.”

The funding will help operators recover from this challenging time and build back even stronger.

“We want to congratulate the province for showing national leadership in supporting and recognizing the importance of B.C. airports to the global economy,” said Sam Samaddar, airport director, Kelowna International Airport. “This funding will provide a lifeline to YLW to maintain critical airport services that support cargo operations and medevac services while we wait for commercial air service to recover.”

This one-time investment builds on other financial support provided by the province to the transportation sector. This includes allowing taxi operators to defer licence renewals if they are not operating, rather than losing their licences and having to reapply, as well as ensuring taxi companies can access financial help from the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program.

In addition, over $1 billion in joint funding with the federal government will allow TransLink, BC Transit and BC Ferries to maintain essential transportation service levels throughout the province and help make sure fares remain affordable as part of BC’s Restart Plan.

City of Trail

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