Surrey election 2014: Proposing a Surrey international airport

Overhead shot of Vancouver International Airport. Will see ever see an International Airport in Surrey? Courtesy: Siqbal/Wikimedia Commons

Overhead shot of Vancouver International Airport. Will see ever see an International Airport in Surrey? Courtesy: Siqbal/Wikimedia Commons

Every mayoral candidate has echoed the same message leading up to Surrey’s civic election in November. They all believe the city needs to get tough on crime and increase police presence. The three leaders – Linda Hepner, Doug McCallum and Barinder Rasode – all have their own opinions on the issue.

Candidate Vikram Bajwa also has views on crime and police presence. He also has a proposal that differentiates him from the competition, a proposal for Surrey’s own international airport.

Surrey has undergone substantial growth over the past decade, and its population has increase by more than 100,000 people since 2001, according to Statistics Canada. There are other reports say that the population of Surrey could surpass that of Vancouver by 2030.

Is the drastic increase in population enough to support the idea of Surrey having its own international airport?

It is a complex issue. Henry D’Silva, an operations manager for the Vancouver hub at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), doesn’t think having an international airport in Surrey would be beneficial.

“I’m not quite sure what kind of benefits a Surrey international airport would have. When you have one as large as Vancouver International, which has not been fully utilized to its potential, it doesn’t make economic sense,” said D’Silva.

One of the factors in deciding whether Surrey needs its own airport is that it greatly depends on the usage of YVR. If it is too busy, then the argument for another airport in Surrey has its merits. However, if YVR still has potential for more traffic, then putting an airport in Surrey seems more like a waste of money.

“Some airports around the world have aircrafts taking off every three or four minutes. At YVR, we still have the capacity to utilize the infrastructure to its potential,” D’Silva said.

There is another international airport in the Lower Mainland, in Abbotsford. Along with these two international airports, there are other airports in Greater Vancouver, including local airports in Pitt Meadows, Boundary Bay and Langley.

“It’s not like we don’t have airports, there are municipal airports around the Lower Mainland. It’s just a matter of using the existing ones to its potential, and once the potential has been fulfilled, then you should look at something new,” said D’Silva.

While the proposal is bold, there are still some questions to be answered before an airport can be considered. Where would it be located? How much money would the airport cost? Where would cutbacks be made to fund an airport as large as this?

Bajwa states his desire for a Surrey International Airport on the Surrey election website. He could not be reached for comment.

Trevor Beggs

A third year Journalism student, taught by some stellar professors at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Currently covering the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.

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