New blacktop will greet new companies taking up residence over the next year at the Langley Regional Airport.
On Wednesday, July 29 the provincial government announced a grant of $287,025 dollars to help repave the runways, taxiways, and aprons at the airport.
“It’s an infrastructure project that we have needed for some time,” said airport manager Guy Miller.
The airport itself is kicking in its own funds to cover the total paving cost of $382,700.
The current paving is getting old and cracking.
“It’s come to the end of its useful life,” said Miller.
The main reason for repaving is safety, but Miller said the other reason is to give the airport an “open for business” feel.
Over the next few years, several new firms will either open facilities or start construction at the airport.
The Northside development will finally be finished with the completion this year of Vector Aerospace’s sizeable facility near the corner of 216th Street and 56th Avenue, said Miller.
That large building will employ about 200 people and could open as soon as this December.
Vector does maintenance and repair on helicopter engines and is an offshoot of aviation giant Airbus.
In the last few months, two more leases for the Northside have also been signed.
Avanti Aerospace, a Surrey-based firm, has leased land for helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft maintenance and overhaul.
Golden Arrow has taken another spot, and is planning to manufacture light aircraft, said Miller.
Companies the size of Vector are expected to bring more jobs than just the ones they directly provide, Miller noted, as they give opportunities to other smaller firms that can provide more services.
Meanwhile, Merlin Aviation, next to the control tower, is working to get through the certifications necessary to offer local commuter flight service.
Miller said the new blacktop shouldn’t interfere with either the business functions or the recreational flyers at the airport too much.
Pilots will have to make some detours during paving, expected to take place either this fall or next spring, but the airport won’t have to shut down.