Air Canada builds GSE and cargo facility at Edmonton

posted on 2nd October 2019
Air Canada builds GSE and cargo facility at Edmonton

Air Canada is looking ahead to the day when it will have use of a dedicated GSE and cargo building at Edmonton International Airport (EIA)

Work on the construction of the building began in October last year. Of the 50,000 square foot facility, 30,000 square feet will be utilised by Air Canada’s GSE team, with the remaining space to be employed by Air Canada Cargo.

Angela Mah – manager, media relations at Air Canada – recalls the background to the building now being constructed at EIA. “It was Air Canada’s decision to build its new facility. Two of Air Canada’s important operations teams at Edmonton, Cargo and Ground Support Equipment, were in separate facilities that were due to be upgraded.

“A business decision was made to have a new facility constructed for both ground support equipment service and cargo teams at EIA. This enables us to enhance our operational capabilities for both operations in a new, modern facility.”

Mah continues: “A lot of planning and thought has gone into this project to ensure that it meets our objectives. For instance, we wanted to ensure that there was sufficient space to efficiently maintain our fleet of 167 airport vehicles that support our operations at EIA, and ensure a learning area was included. These vehicles include pushback tugs, baggage tractors, baggage carts, container dollies, vans and more.”

On the airport’s side of the equation, Mammen Tharakan, EIA director, e-commerce, cargo & aviation real estate, informs: “The construction of this new facility is also consistent with the airport’s long-term strategy of transitioning our key cargo operators to the highly connected and purpose-built Cargo Village.

“The location of this new facility offers easy access to major roadways, close proximity to Customs (the Canada Border Services Agency, or CBSA), plus quick access to the apron and other cargo warehouses for cargo transfers.”

The Terracap Group is constructing the facility and the building is expected to open in September 2019. “For EIA, Terracap has been a strong partner with this second development coming only six years after the completion of their first airside cargo facility in 2013,” Tharakan says.

Air Canada’s investment in the new facility is worth C$19 million over the term of the 15-year lease, the carrier confirms. But it is convinced it will be worth the money. “One of Air Canada’s goals is to provide world-class service, and a brand new, modern facility helps create an enhanced experience for both our customers and our employees,” says Mah.

“Additionally, it has been designed to meet our unique operational requirement for our ground equipment services teams, such as having numerous maintenance bays, and dedicated areas for specialised work.”

She continues: “Five maintenance bays are being constructed to support the maintenance requirements of our ground support vehicles. Plus, there are specialised areas for welding and machining operations, electrical work and equipment painting.

“Our electricians will have a dedicated area to conduct specialised electrical repairs, painting will be able to be done year-round, and importantly, training facilities including classrooms are present to enable our technicians to remain current with the latest technology and processes.”

Furthermore: “We have ensured that all environment requirements are safely and efficiently met through a dedicated area handling hazardous materials,” Mah says.

“The new facility enables modern, upgraded technology infrastructure and enhanced space usage. This will help efficiently streamline the movement of goods that are shipped via Air Canada Cargo, which handled 3.2 million kilograms of goods last year, comprising pharmaceuticals, mail, art, plus oil and gas industry equipment and much more through the Edmonton cargo facility.

“And as our cargo business continues to grow, a new facility will help enhance the experience for our customers and our staff alike. This is good for us and our many customers here, but also for the Edmonton Airport Authority, which has made the development of the cargo-handling capacity at the airport a priority that continues to contribute to the overall economy of this region,” Mah declares.

Tharakan adds: “The facility has been designed with appropriate groundside and airside access to ensure the seamless collection, receipt, sortation and handling of cargo.

“Air Canada Cargo is a significant partner and we recognise the importance of this strategic location to its business efficiency. The investment by our key airline partners in the development of EIA’s Cargo Village is a demonstration of confidence in the market, and our strengthening partnership.

“With this Air Canada investment, the footprint of total warehousing, distribution and logistics space to be operational at EIA will grow to just under 900,000 square feet, which is a significant contributor to the economic development of the region.”