Passengers leave a Swoop Airlines flight at the Abbotsford airport. The airport expects to post record profits next year thanks to higher passenger numbers. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Abbotsford airport raking in millions, two decades after being bought for $10

City-owned Abbotsford International Airport made $3.8 million last year

The Abbotsford International Airport’s pile of cash continues to grow after the city-owned facility posted a $3.8 million profit in 2018.

It’s not bad for an airport bought by the city for just $10 – that’s not a typo – two decades ago.

Year-end financial statements show the airport’s operating profit jumped by 60 per cent last year. The money has been put into the airport’s capital reserves which, as it stand, are “more than sufficient to cover our future capital plans without the need of incurring any debt,” according to the report by Myra Webb, the airport’s finance manager.

In recent years, the airport has posted operating profits of a little more than $2 million. But revenue increased dramatically last year, coming in $800,000 above what was projected, thanks largely to more passengers.

YXX expects another jump in passenger counts in 2019, and officials have predicted that it will top the one million mark for the first time. That is expected to increase the facility’s profits for years to come, according to budget documents.

The city’s budget predicts the airport should make around $4.5 million for each of the next five years.

All that money goes to the airport’s reserves, which currently stand at $18.9 million. The money is used to pay for capital projects, like the recently completed terminal expansion.

But while the airport is set for the short- and medium-term, Mayor Henry Braun said those reserves will be needed for future major projects.

“We have some significant investments to make in the future,” he said

“We are just looking out over the horizon to the next 20 years, so while $18 million in reserves sounds like a lot of money and it is, relatively speaking, that’s not a lot of money for where we’re going and where this airport is going to go over the next 25 years.”

Those costs could include moving the control tower, an idea that has been floated by transportation authorities in the past, he said. And the next terminal upgrade could cost tens of millions of dollars, he said. The city has long said that all such capital projects must be funded by the airport itself.

For now, though, the airport has plenty of money.

YXX plans to spend around $5 million on a new bag room over the next three years. When that is done, the terminal will be big enough to accommodate as many as 2.5 million passengers each year before it needs a further expansion, airport general manager Parm Sidhu told council last month.

Another $10 million will be spent over the next five years to replace or upgrade various buildings, roads, taxiways, and pieces of equipment.

But even with that spending, the airport should be able to add millions of dollars more to its reserve funds. Interest on the money in the two funds brought in more than $400,000 last year.

Abbotsford Airport was bought from the federal government for $10 in 1997, on the condition that it remain an airport and that the city itself not contribute any money beyond that small initial purchase price.

Five years earlier, the airport had lost more than $200,000, and Braun hailed Matsqui and Abbotsford mayors Dave Kendall and George Ferguson for seeing the potential in the airport.

“Those two gentlemen and the board are what made this happen,” he said.

RELATED: Abbotsford airport expansion to double seating capacity

RELATED: Abbotsford International Airport sets new passenger record


@ty_olsen
tolsen@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fraser Valley community leaders come together to build a stronger more vibrant future

Event convened by Grant Thornton LLP and is part of the firm’s Vibrant Communities initiative

Atangard and Abbotsford artists support mental health

Musicians perform Friday, Dec. 20 in fundraiser at Abbotsford Rugby Club

New program offers job support for 55 and older

STRIDE program offered by Archway Community Services in Abbotsford

Sweeney Singers host annual Christmas concert in Abbotsford

Event takes place Saturday, Dec. 21 at St. James Church

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

VIDEO: Giants edged out by Everett

Another case where Vancouver outshot an opponent, but couldn’t get past the other goalie

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Surrey councillor wants the policing transition process to ‘immediately stop’

Brenda Locke to make motion at Dec. 16 meeting to reconsider current plan

Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder in 2017 Stanley Park stabbing

Lubomir Kunik was found by a man out walking his dog on the beach late on Feb. 1, 2017

Most Read