Airport celebrates 75 years

This month, the airport marks an important milestone and the public is invited join in the celebration

Since the 1930s, Langley Regional Airport has been moving people and products, providing training, supplying jobs, and serving as a vibrant economic hub in the Township of Langley.

A world-class centre for the aviation and aerospace industry — particularly the helicopter sector — in B.C., it is recognized across the country and around the globe as a facility of excellence.

This month, the airport marks an important milestone and the public is invited join in the celebration.

On June 22, Langley Regional Airport turns 75 years old and festivities have been planned to pay tribute to the facility and all it contributes.

“This is a really exciting opportunity, a chance to let people know about the airport and the role it plays in our community,” said 75th anniversary celebration committee chair George Miller. The head of Avcon Consulting, Miller served as manager of the airport since 1990, before handing that duty over to his son Guy this year.

“It is a great time to bring people together — people who have gotten to know each other through flying together, working or volunteering at the Airport, and people who are interested in aircraft and the aviation industry.”

To kick off the celebrations, a massive air parade will be held on Friday, June 21. From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., people throughout Langley and Aldergrove can look up to the sky and see 75 various aircraft circling the community.

With so many different aircraft in the air at one time — including various makes in categories of factory built, home built, classic, antique, and ex-military — the airport hopes to make the Guinness Book of World Records.

That evening, guests can dance the night away to the big band sounds of the Bruce James Orchestra in a place usually reserved for planes. A hangar on the north side of the Langley Airport will be converted into a dance hall on Friday at 7 p.m. Guests should follow the signs when entering the airport at the traffic lights opposite Langley Secondary School on 56 Avenue. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are $20, which includes a hamburger or hot dog and a beverage. For tickets, contact the Canadian Museum of Flight at 604-532-0035 or CMflight@telus.net.

The following day, June 22, an official ceremony will be held and a fly-in will see aviation enthusiasts arriving from around the province to celebrate the airport’s milestone anniversary.

Originally built by the federal Department of Transport in 1938, the Langley Airport was controlled by the Department of National Defence and enhanced for the Royal Canadian Air Force for use as a relief field in the early 1940s.

After the Second World War, the Department of Transport resumed ownership and leased the airport to the Township of Langley.  In 1954, the facility was licenced to operate as a municipal airport and in 1967 it was purchased by the Township for $24,300.

“That turned out to be an excellent investment,” said Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese, noting that Langley Regional Airport is now home to close to 50 businesses, including the largest concentration of rotary wing companies in Canada. “People want to live and work in our community and we are proud of our thriving commercial climate.”