A new passenger terminal and flight operations facility will be built at Langley Regional Airport.
Merlin Air Custom Charters Inc. provided a letter of intent to the airport and the Township of Langley last week (June 16).
The company intends to begin providing custom charter air services as early as this fall.
The Merlin Air passenger terminal’s two-gate, dual aircraft ramp system will enable simultaneous passenger arrivals and departures. For the first time, using Langley Airport as the hub, passengers will be able to direct connect with regional and major airports throughout the province – commuters to and from Victoria, tourists from Campbell River to Osoyoos or from Pemberton/Whistler to Kelowna; and resource workers can fly from the Fraser Valley to and home from northern worksites.
Via the new Langley Merlin Air Flight Complex, Fraser Valley leisure and business travelers, tourists, commuters, cargo and specialty-aviation users will have much needed year-round access to safe, reliable, convenient, flexible, and affordable air transport.
“Merlin Air is British Columbia’s only air charter and adventure tour company to offer flexible and affordable point-to-point custom charter flights of 90 minutes or less on a B.C.-wide basis,” said Fred Xavier, the company’s president and chief executive officer, in a press release.
“Our choice of aircraft and multiple mini-hub approach to regional air travel means we can deliver end-to-end concierge level value at lower price points than jets or helicopters with minimal difference in flight times on short-hop routes.”
“The Merlin Air network of mini-hubs maximizes aircraft and crew utilization and reduces operating costs,” said Lori Xavier, Merlin Air’s co-founder and senior vice-president of marketing and adventure.
“For our customers, this translates into direct, point-to-point air travel that is affordable.
“Merlin Air gives give business and leisure travelers who previously did not use or even consider charter flights, a new, affordable, scenic, fast and thoroughly enjoyable travel option for people who value their time.”
The project will start with a small fleet of Piper Navajos carrying six to eight passengers each. An amphibious aircraft is expected to join the fleet, hopefully by the end of the year, to service trips to the Victoria harbour.
They will operate from a temporary building during construction of their new air flight operations complex at the airport.
Under a 30-year renewable lease with the Langley Airport, Merlin Air will build on Lot 49, located at the entrance to the airport.
JDG Construction has been appointed as project manager to design and construct the Merlin Air Centre as a landmark, well-purposed and environmentally balanced facility.
The design and planning stages have begun and are expected to be completed in 2014.
The new facility will include a 3,500 square foot passenger terminal/ticket office, a 6,500 square foot aircraft hangar and maintenance facility, plus a second storey offices and an executive business centre.
Some special features will be an all-weather observation patio and a high definition 360 degree camera for 24-hour real-time viewing for pilots and world-wide viewers and aviation enthusiasts.