You might think of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure as being all about highways. But did you know we have an aviation angle?
You see, making all of B.C.’s transportation industries more globally competitive is one of our ministry’s goals. While the aviation industry is federally regulated, air transport plays a big role in B.C.’s economy, business opportunities and the everyday lives of British Columbians. That’s why the ministry is partnering with a large crew, including the federal government, airport operators, passenger and cargo airlines, and others in the aviation sectors, to enhance aviation in B.C.
It’s big stakes because air transport operations are a major contributor to the economy on their own and they influence the fortunes of the businesses and industries that depend on them. Here are some examples of aviation’s impact in B.C.
- In B.C., there are more than 300 airports, heliports and water aerodromes (fancy name for places where float planes can land).
- Our airports serve B.C. and Canadian travellers, international tourists, people who need urgent medical attention and forest fire fighters.
- Airports allow shipments of fresh Fraser Valley berries to reach Beijing, bring foreign students to B.C. schools, universities and colleges, and move investors, workers and equipment to remote worksites.
- B.C.’s biggest airport -Vancouver International (YVR) – is the second busiest in Canada.
The ministry is focussing its work with its aviation partners on Connecting with the World: An Aviation Strategy for British Columbia. You’re more than welcome to read it. The plan charts out many ways to increase air services for people and goods – like reducing regulatory and administrative costs for airlines, bringing more international flights to the province, improving visa programs and adding new infrastructure.
Steps are already being taken to make B.C. a better place for airlines and travellers – last year, the aviation fuel tax for international flights was eliminated. Since then, YVR has added Sichuan Airlines and Virgin Atlantic services, and Kelowna now has daily direct flights to Los Angeles. Our aviation efforts also connect to our work on the Pacific Gateway, which links aviation, marine, rail and road transportation networks to increase trade with Asian Pacific companies.
So, while you may not think “aviation” when you think of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, we’re working to give it lift where we can. (Sorry, couldn’t help that.) We recognize that keeping roads clear is really important, but so is air travel for goods and people.
One more point to ponder…in the more remote areas of the province, the same plows that clear the roads remove snow from airport runways.
What do you depend on air travel most for?
TranBC Trivia: In 2012, 17.6 million passengers and 227,000 tonnes of cargo passed through YVR.