New business setting up at Wiarton-Keppel airport
ROB GOWAN Postmedia News
An aircraft maintenance and mechanical service business is relocating to the Wiarton Keppel International Airport.
R&D Aviation, which services both private and commercial aircraft, is relocating to the airport from Guelph. The business, which is to operate out of a hangar at the airport, employs four people, and is expected to attract aircraft from a vast area, increasing traffic and the profile of the airport, said Georgian Bluffs Mayor Al Barfoot.
“It is small, but it is an example of one of the many initiatives we have going on to bring business to the airport,” said Barfoot.
R & D Aviation is an Approved Maintenance Operator with Transport Canada for both private and commercial aircraft. Barfoot said that by having an approved AMO at the airport, it allows it to compete with other airports such as Peterborough, Waterloo Region and Lake Simcoe in offering commercial maintenance services.
Barfoot said it will also help attract other aviation businesses at the airport.
Georgian Bluffs took over full ownership of the certified airport in June 2015 after purchasing South Bruce Peninsula’s 50 per cent stake for $600,000. Prior to the transaction, little had been done to the facility since the federal government downloaded it to the municipalities in 1996, as they were often at odds over what direction it should be taken.
Since it purchased the facility, Georgian Bluffs has also bought the old terminal building and renovated it. The Flying Diner restaurant is currently operating out of the building.
Barfoot said the municipality is working with Regional Tourism Organization 7, which includes Grey-Bruce to promote the airport from a tourism and economic development standpoint.
The municipality has also retained the marketing and consultation firm Think Compass and is working with them to bring other business to the airport. Barfoot said they are currently in talks with other aviation businesses to locate at the airport, but nothing more has been finalized.
A survey conducted in February revealed a strong appetite for scheduled passenger flights from Wiarton to Toronto and the municipality and Think Compass are in discussions with airline carriers about offering flights.