HALIFAX STANFIELD: The province and the Halifax International Airport Authority have had a “great sense of partnership” during the negotiation process that has led to a $13 million investment by the province to HIAA.
In an announcement in the Observation Deck at Halifax Stanfield Airport on May 6, Economic Development Minister Susan Corkum-Greek said the support from the province will go to Halifax Stanfield’s Air Access Fund. That fund is used to attract new routes and passengers to what many term as an economic driver of Nova Scotia’s economy.
The province is also investing $6.3 million into J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport as part of the same announcement.
Corkum-Greek responded to a question from The Laker News regarding how the negotiation process went between the two sides.
“There has been a great sense of partnership with the HIAA,” she said. “I think our government, and frankly the government that preceded us, have tried to have honest conversations throughout the challenges of the pandemic to first identify the challenges and work collectively.
“This is an instance where working together, this is clearly a good investment in recovery and future growth.”
HIAA Vice-President, Business Development and Chief Commercial Officer, Marie Manning, said they’re grateful for this additional financial support from the provincial government to help them re-establish a strong air service network for their communities.
“Air service connections will be critical in supporting regional economic recovery,” said Manning. “Now more than ever, we need to partner with our airlines to ensure service is returned to our region in a timely manner, allowing our tourism markets to gain back the momentum they’ve lost since COVID-19.”
She said the investment will help out two-fold. The funds are available right now, she added.
“Having this incentive available for the airlines as they recover will help support our recovery,” she said. “We’ll be able to entice the airlines to setup and establish here at Halifax.”
Manning was asked about the process of negotiations and how they went with the province.
“The provincial government has been extremely supportive,” she said. ‘We’re really appreciative the fact that they understand the role we play as an airport to support their mandate in terms of business development and immigration and tourism growth. They understand and they get it.”
Corkum-Greek said the province acknowledges that in the past the Air Access Fund has been designed to gain international flights, but that’s different now.
“We realized coming out of the pandemic we have to rebuild our domestic routes in order to further strengthen our international network,” said Corkum-Greek. “Our government also did not put any provisions where such and such percentage would be for one or the other.”
She said the province’s work with the airport authority has convinced them that those folks know their business, they’re being thoughtful and very strategic in the investments they make.
“We feel confident in this investment and what it will gain,’ said Corkum-Greek.
Acting Minister of Education Minister (for last week) and Minister of Advanced Education Brian Wong was the emcee for the announcement. He is also the MLA for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.
Hants East MLA John A. MacDonald was also on hand for the announcement at HSIA.