Airline Inaugurates its new $10-million hangar and terminal at Trudeau airport
Jean Charest may be gone, but he is far from forgotten – by Air Creebec at least. “We view (the former premier’s) Plan Nord as really a personal friend,” said Sylvain Dicaire, chief financial officer of the Val d’Or-based airline owned by the Cree nation. “We couldn’t agree with it more.”
Since its founding in 1982, the airline has banked heavily on northern development – mostly mining, forestry and Hydro-Québec.
But Charest formalizing the economic development of Quebec’s far north as a premier strategic objective for the government means that “the sky is the limit for us now,” Dicaire said. The occasion Monday was itself a testament to the benefits of that interest.
On its 30th anniversary, Air Creebec inaugurated its new $10-million hangar and terminal on the edges of the runway at Dorval’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport – built with a $1.3-million subsidy from the province, Dicaire noted. Plan Nord may be a formal stamp, but in truth, Dicaire said, “we sensed it before (it was launched).”
Canada’s resource sector, especially gold mining, has boomed in the past few years, so “we actually never saw the recession. Val d’Or is the most prosperous city in Quebec and that’s where we do a lot of business.”
“In fact, we bought three (de Havilland Dash-8 35-seaters) in the last two years, and we’re about to buy another.”
The once-fledgling airline now carries 60,000 passengers a year, about evenly divided between charters for companies like Goldcorp Inc. and Hydro-Québec, and scheduled flights.
The number of destinations is almost impossible to pin down, said company president Matthew Happyjack, because the airline’s fleet of 16 planes can touch down in a village one day to pick up or let off passengers working on a company project and not go there again for months.
But the carrier has four main centres, in Val d’Or, Timmins, Ont., Dorval and Moosonee, Ont. The bulk of Air Creebec flights are in Quebec, but the airline is also active in northern Ontario.
Happyjack said that the company bought the new facility from Aéroports de Montréal last year to accommodate the expected growth in traffic in the next few years.
Revenues are roughly $70 million a year, said Dicaire, and are on a tear.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Montreal Gazette website: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Creebec+flies+high+Plan+Nord+ramps/7256773/story.html