Connecting to the world
By Anna Guy
It’s been an active year for the Greater Sudbury Airport. A year ago, Todd Tripp was brought on board as the new CEO of the Sudbury Airport Community Development Corporation (SACDC), bringing with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise in aviation from his experience working with Air Canada and Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
“The appeal of working for the Greater Sudbury Airport was to come back to northern Ontario. I was originally in southern Ontario at Canada’s largest airport, and I wanted to come back and work in a smaller airport so I could develop air services, develop the community involvement in the airport, and grow the business.”
Grow the business, they have. The Greater Sudbury Airport is one of Northern Ontario’s busiest with a catchment area that includes North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins and down to the edges of the province. The airport is currently served by Air Canada, Bearskin Airlines, Porter Airlines and Sunwing Airlines, and, most recently, WestJet.
In February, WestJet announced it would resume flights to the airport for the first time since 2003, in response to strong demand and favourable government conditions. Currently the airline flies between Toronto and Sudbury, shortening the 5-hour drive (in good conditions) to a 45-minute flight. Next on the agenda, says Tripp, is to look into flights bound to Western Canada.
Expanding its Reach
“Our prime market is going to Toronto, and of course we have Bearskin Airlines that operates within northern Ontario, but we are always looking to enhance our destinations,” says Tripp. “We are predominately trying to see if we can feed from here to western Canada so our travellers don’t have to go south before they go west.”
The airport has also seen terminal upgrades in the past year, including added counter space, office and passenger staging renovations, and introduced LED lighting—which will reduce the hydro bill by 70 per cent.
It’s a case of “Build it and they will come”. “Sudbury continues to grow as its air service market continues to grow,” says Tripp. “The airport is supported by a solid team of strong minded professionals who are helping our airport launch into this new, busier chapter.”
Business and Education Hub
Indeed, the airport typically sees 230,000 passengers through its gates a year, and this year is already on track for a 10 per cent increase. Of those travellers, approximately 70 per cent are flying for business or education. After all, Sudbury is a major centre of innovation and applied research in many fields, including mining technology, environmental restoration, specialized product development, health care and astrophysics research, and is regarded as one of the most important mining centres in the world.
Sudbury is also a prime destination because of its position as the regional centre of learning and applied research for northeastern Ontario. Laurentian University, Cambrian College, and Collège Boréal, and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) are all situated in Sudbury, and are a major attraction for international students. In fact, @LaurentianU tweeted “Thanks for flying in our students from over 60 countries world wide!”
“Small airports in Canada are a tremendous need in the community,” says Tripp. “They allow us to connect Sudbury to Canada and to the world.”
As the Greater Sudbury Airport continues to grow, it’s looking at leveraging some of its acreage for commercial development, similar to a business park. With continued community support, the sky is the limit.
For more information on the Greater Sudbury Airport, check @flysudbury on Instagram or visit www.flysudbury.ca