BY: KEN HERAR
The Abbotsford Airport (YXX) is the gateway to the Fraser Valley where diversity takes off and lands connecting Canadians from around our country.
Half a million passengers use YXX and 2016 is proving to be the strongest year, yet. It seems like whenever I look into the horizon there is a Westjet flight looming in the area.
Having traveled through the airport on many occasions my preference for most of my Canadian travel destination is YXX if the connections can be made. Leading the way is Parm Sidhu, Airport General Manager, who has worked for the city for the past 21 years forecasts a bright future for our growing airport.
Sidhu, who is an Abbotsford Senior grad has worked in several jobs within the city since in 1995 like: skate sharpener, ice Man, airport duty officer and terminal manager, just to name a few.
He explains, having a competitive business model is the key to the airport world, which is changing fast due to technology. He said, “keeping up on general technology trends impacting airlines/passengers, airports and aerospace companies is a challenge, as what works in our industry today, may not work tomorrow.”
There is a growing diverse culture at YXX, which is a reflection of the 1,500 people that work on the airfield, 16 who work directly for the airport and the balance for the partners on the field. Partnerships are the key as growth in the surrounding communities continues, especially in the southern region of the Fraser, as Sidhu mentions. Currently, there are three major carriers that workout of YXX to service travellers.
Close to 75 million has been invested since 1997, and one of the short-term goals are to secure more daily domestic service to Ontario and then to attract more international service from YXX.
As the population continues to grow south of the Fraser, YXX is positioned well for growth, with goals to attract new flights including daily year-round service to Ontario as well as trans-border and international flights.
If you ever get to visit or drop off travellers at YXX, you’ll find the experience to be first class right from the ticket personal, security and the janitors. On diversity, walking through the terminal a hidden gem is located near the Westjet ticket office, the Water Clock that once was home at Sevenoaks from 1991 to 2000.
A interesting program is held every March out of YXX for young girls and women to meet outstanding females in the aviation and aerospace industry and free flights are offered for eligible candidates called: “The Skies No Limit- Girls Fly Too”.
The Abbotsford Airshow, will be held from August 11-13 next year and is always a wonderful opportunity to meet experts in the field from across the globe.
Sidhu said, “It’s been an amazing journey, it’s truly been a great partnership with the employer that has invested in me and allowed me to grow my career in the town I grew up in. It’s truly been a partnership.”