Campbell River is well positioned to continue growing its emerging aerospace sector. The city has modernized its airport infrastructure, increasing runway capacity and opening commercial opportunities for aerospace. The sector includes companies working in space and remote sensing, in-service support (ISS) and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), aviation training, advanced manufacturing and more. The city is also home to a number of helicopter and seaplane companies, as well as technology and manufacturing companies that are producing products to serve the aerospace sector.
BC has the third largest aerospace sector in Canada.
Snapshot of Aerospace in British Columbia
British Columbia (BC) has one of the largest MRO-ISS Service Sectors in Canada and this, along with the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector are important aspects of the province’s aerospace industry 3. Aerospace in BC provides more than 8,000 jobs directly and supports another 14,300-19,800 jobs indirectly 3. The BC aerospace industry has more than 160 companies, most of which are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) 4. Within the sector, more than 70% of firms are involved in manufacturing 5.
Located near the central coast of Vancouver Island, the Campbell River Airport (YBL) is strategically positioned to become a regional hub for aviation-related business. With its proximity to larger centres and the world’s largest aerospace cluster in Washington State, Campbell River is a 35-minute flight from Vancouver and is less than three hours from Seattle. In addition, most points on Vancouver Island can be accessed by small plane or helicopter within 90 minutes.
YBL offers a variety of aviation services (instrument landing services - ILS, high visibility lights etc.), as well as services for pilots, such as airplane parking, fueling and maintenance.
YBL has a runway of 6,500 feet by 150 feet, two parallel taxiways, and capacity for a variety of aircraft from Cessna 150’s up to Boeing 737, Globals, Gulfstreams and other corporate clients. Since the airport runway expansion, there has also been an increase in passenger volume.
There are opportunities for growth at YBL with commercial and industrial land available for aviation related industry such as manufacturing, assembly, disassembly, processing, or packaging of materials and goods.
Currently the airport is host to more than 10 companies providing services including avionics, aviation consultation, and aircraft overhauls. YBL is home to the Province of BC Air Tanker Base.
The airport has high-speed, enterprise level internet access to support the businesses located within the airport terminal as well as in the surrounding industrial properties. YBL also offers free wireless Wi-Fi.
Businesses along the Supply Chain
Campbell River is home to companies servicing the manufacturing, maintenance, and technological needs of the local and global aerospace industry. In addition to the two airlines that fly out of YBL, Campbell River is also home to a number of floatplane and helicopter operators including: Vancouver Island Air, Corilair, E & B Helicopters, 49 North Helicopters, Helifor, and West Coast Helicopters.
Companies with specific avionics focus, such as Skye Avionics and ASAP Avionics – both located at YBL – offer testing, maintenance, installation, and repairs, for avionics and airframe electrical systems. Companies working to develop products and new technologies, such as ASAP Geomatix, that allow for innovative data collection.
Businesses offering custom manufacturing, aircraft modification kits and components, and product assembly are located in the community. There is enough demand for manufacturing and supplies in BC’s aerospace sector that companies in Campbell River, dedicated to manufacturing and assembly of aircraft components, such as Sealand Aerospace – supplier to Viking Air in Victoria – have grown in place.
MAINTENANCE, REPAIR AND OVERHAUL
There are a variety of float and wheel-equipped aircrafts in Campbell River and as a result, companies offering maintenance, repair, rebuild, and overhaul services, such as Sealand Aviation, serve a variety of aircraft types. There are also companies, such as E & B Helicopters, who focusing especially on providing maintenance and avionics services for helicopters.
Several organizations, both at the regional and provincial level are working to grow the aerospace sector.
Vancouver Island Aerospace Association fosters investment in the aerospace industry on Vancouver Island and aims to promote the region as a talent hub to the global aerospace market.
Pacific Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Association (PAMEA) develops, maintains and improves relations between industry and regulatory bodies. PAMEA includes maintenance engineers, aircraft maintenance personnel and aviation industry corporate members.
Aerospace Industries Association of Canada Pacific (AIAC Pacific) promotes and develops aerospace businesses in BC as an advocate and by facilitating participation in programs designed to enhance business development, investment and global competition.
EDUCATION PROGRAMS IN AEROSPACE ON VANCOUVER ISLAND
Programs in Campbell River and the surrounding region provide interactive, hands-on, and project based-learning experiences for students interested in pursuing degrees in aerospace. In addition, private schools located in Campbell River, such as Discovery West Aviation, offering flight training and aviation consultation as well as training for private aircraft owners.
Campbell River campus that delivers technical programs in aircraft structures, aircraft sheet metal manufacturing, industrial automation, and electronics. Programs are Transport Canada approved and students have access to curriculum that prepares them for the aircraft maintenance engineer training and examinations.
Headquartered in Nanaimo, offers programs in a variety of subject areas supportive to the aerospace sector, including engineering, geographic information systems, information technology and applied systems.