In the 1960s, the Peterborough Airport was built in its current location just outside of the City limits. It turns out, the City, along with founder Harry Oakman, were setting into motion a strategy that would become an economic driver for the region. With continuous improvements, and a particularly keen interest in the Airport over the past five years, what was once a flying club haa been transformed into Canada’s busiest small airport, with over 70,000 movements per year. An airport that has become a hub for the region’s burgeoning aerospace sector.
Peterborough’s Working Airport
Today, Peterborough’s aerospace sector employs well over 600 people (both on and off the Airport property), with companies such as Flying Colours Corporation, Safran Electronics and KADEX Aero Supply. The airport also provides valuable infrastructure for local businesses. The Airport is viewed proudly showcased as a “working airport”.
City of Peterborough Planning Director, Malcolm Hunt said, “When the City set in motion a program to transform the Peterborough Airport […] into a regional economic driver every expectation was that the investment would produce result.” And it is creating big results for the region, as Mr. Hunt states, “There are now over 400 people who work at the Peterborough Airport [in education and maintenance, repair and overhaul companies] and the expectation is for that to grow and grow significantly.”
One of the Airport’s anchor tenants is a business aircraft maintenance, refurbishment and completions service provider, Flying Colours Corporation. This family-owned and operated company opened its Peterborough facility in 1989, and has since become a global leader in their field. Today, they are still headquartered in Peterborough with secondary locations in St. Louis, Missouri and Singapore.
In January 2014, Seneca College’s School of Aviation, moved itself out from under the Toronto airspace to the Peterborough Airport. Today, students learn how to take flight in our region in a state-of-the-art facility that includes hangars for maintenance of aircrafts, simulator training rooms and enhanced offering for student life through a partnership with Fleming College.
The Airport’s property management company, the Loomex Group has recently opened a brand new building at the airport, providing tenants with amenities like maintenance and storage hangars, office space and premium open-concept meeting space.
Even away from the Airport’s property, Peterborough’s aerospace sector is growing. In April 2015, local manufacturer, Sciens Industries was awarded a multi-year contract to supply high-precision machined components for the Boeing 777 landing gear program with deliveries slated to begin in December 2015. Sciens is a local advanced manufacturing company that specializes in the manufacture of intricate and exacting build-to-print CNC machine parts for a variety of sectors. Gerry Vandersanden of Sciens Industries says, “It’s not about being the biggest, it’s about being the best”. A sentiment that rings true for Peterborough’s role in Canada’s aerospace sector.
Opportunity Is In The Air
In September 2015, it was announced that the Peterborough Airport will continue to expand the airport facilities. The new project will ensure there is construction –ready land for future large scale industrial hangars and will support the immediate construction of airport aprons and a new taxiway.
This article was originally published in Peterborough Possibilities. Read the entire publication here.