Along with an expansion that’s doubling the capacity of the facility, Waterloo Region International Airport will see new construction as Chartright Air Group boosts its operations at YKF.
Chartright will double the size of its existing aircraft hangar at the airport, and provide a wide range of services for private jets, passengers and flight crew. The business-jet transportation company’s new fixed base operation (FBO) will offer a passenger lounge, private jet management and charter services, aircraft maintenance and repair facilities and expanded jet fuel capacity.
The company, established in 1987, is betting the growing tech hub companies in the region will take advantage of their new services. Constantine Tsokas, vice-president of maintenance, said there are many businesses in the area that could benefit from Chartright’s expanded offerings.
“We’re doubling our footprint there just because we actually strongly believe that we can fill the hangar. As we build our FBO out there, we better cater to the needs of our clients. I think it’s an airport that’s demonstrated great growth recently, and we strongly believe it’ll show continuous future growth.”
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Chartright has been in the region for more than six years and has seen a demand increase over that period.
“The facility will offer increased capacity and a wide range of enhanced services for private jets and will provide cargo handling and air ambulance support services,” said company president Adam Keller in a release announcing the expansion. “As the premier provider of aircraft management service in the Region of Waterloo, and Canada’s number-one provider of private jet charter service, we are thrilled to participate in the growth of the region.”
Along with the expansion, Chartright is looking forward to an easing of travel and border-crossing restrictions. The federal government this week announced the Breslau facility would be among those permitted to resume international flights by month’s end.
“Once we are able to receive international travellers – the majority of that comes from the United States who do business in the Kitchener-Waterloo area – I welcome the fact that with November 30 coming up soon, we’ll be able to start catering to those clients once again,” said Tsokas.
Other growth at the airport, including flights by ultra-low cost carrier Flair Airlines, provides new leads for Chartright, he added.
“There’ve been some great opportunities in the region for supporting airline type aircraft and or charter airline opportunities. We put our focus into where we can better serve clients and, of course, our niche, the business jets, but there are other opportunities to serve other types of clients,” said Tsokas. “As an example, you have airlines such as Flair who’ve entered Waterloo, and it’s been a great growth development in their airport strategy there. Chartright is supporting Flair’s business by providing them with facility to do maintenance for their aircraft. This new hangar that we’re developing will allow us to move our business jets into the new hangar. And with our existing hangar, which is a very airline-sized type of infrastructure, we can better support the growth of other airlines as Flair continues to develop. We can actually cater and support airline aircraft through hangar facility, fuel, those type of services.
“The original hanger was not intended to be an FBO. We’ll be able to provide direct access to the ramp, we’ll have the ability to provide better amenities for flight crew – we understand what their requirements are, what their needs are. They have a wish list that they’ve expressed to us and we’ll be able to build those facilities, like a crew snooze room, a meeting room, which was something that our business travellers will enjoy as an amenity. We’ll be able to have luxury services with rental cars on site, catering options available for prior to departure – just give them the selection of something that makes them comfortable and provides a great experience with respect to the passenger side of the scheduled airline charter,” he added of the expansion plans.
The new FBO will bring two dozen new skilled jobs to the region, and Tsokas expects more will be created in the future.
“I would say it’s not unrealistic over the next several years to see 50 jobs created from this.”
That’s just what the region, which owns the airport, is looking to see.
“Chartright Air Group’s expansion is a welcome addition to YKF. Since landing at the airport in 2015, Chartright has grown significantly, adding many highly skilled jobs to the Region of Waterloo’s workforce,” said regional Chair Karen Redman in the announcement. “The services provided by partners like Chartright and the other 25 companies at the airport support our growing aviation sector and enable our community to continue to attract air service. We are excited by the opportunity this expansion represents.”
The region is expecting to continue to grow to a population of 742,000 by 2031. Pearson airport in Toronto is expecting to see passenger movements increase to 70 million annually, testing the capacity of the facility and providing opportunities to airports such as YFK.
Besides creating jobs for the local economy, the new FBO from Chartright is expected to help the businesses in the area to connect to areas outside the region.
“It also should help the economy outside of the airport, for talent, attraction and retention, just as businesses are being attracted to Waterloo Region, connectivity is always important. We do have a number of businesses that are international and also national and North American, and they see they need links to other places so they can provide that kind of support to the broader economy,” said Woolwich Mayor Sandy Shantz. “There are over 150 companies that support the aviation sector in Waterloo Region, and that’s a significant piece of our economy.”
Chartright air group’s new FBO state-of-the-art facility will open its doors to clients next summer.