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Abbotsford Airport- in the Middle of Everywhere
By Jerry W. Bird

When I first heard the expression, "In the middle of everywhere," spoken in reference to the City of Abbotsford Airport, it really hit home. "What an ideal slogan for a complex that straddles the Canada - USA border, and is central to key population centres of the Fraser Valley, BC's Lower Mainland and Northwest Washington State, " I thought.

And that's why this airport's future success is foreordained by simple arithmetic. According to population figures, over 700,000 people live closer to Abbotsford Airport (YXX) than to Vancouver International (YVR). Abbotsford is truly in the middle of everywhere. It's on the Trans Canada Highway midway between Vancouver's Waterfront and the Rocky Mountain gateway of Hope. A few hours south is the Seattle- Tacoma megacity, home of Microsoft and Boeing, the world's most concentrated aircraft manufacturing complex. Not to mention the Seattle Mariners with their new stadium. We envision scheduled flights to Seattle and Portland from Abbotsford Airport in the not too distant future.

Canada's National Airport Policy coupled with an historic Open Skies Air Agreement, laid the groundwork for a total revolution in general aviation and passenger travel. It came with a rush, no better example being the rapid sequence of events here at Abbotsford Airport. 1997 ushered in a bold new era, as the City of Abbotsford, represented by Mayor George Ferguson, and Abbotsford Airport Authority, under the leadership of President Herman Driediger, pledged to fully develop the airport's potential.Driediger's optimism was justified by the airport's history and prime location in the heart of a large, growing population centre, with the Trans Canada Highway bringing visitors, new business and development to the airport's very doorstep. Having earned world recognition for the Abbotsford International Airshow and Aerospace North America, the stage was set. As Herman Driediger expected, virtually overnight, Abbotsford Airport was on its way to becoming a successful, passenger gateway, with a brand new air terminal completed in record time -- and on budget.
He had little doubt that this cause and effect situation would also be a magnet for general aviation and light industry. In addition to increased action on the airport property, such as the Conair Group's multi-million dollar complex, all one needs to do is drive down Mt. Lehman Road and spot the warehouses and commercial development springing up like wildflowers on the airport's perimeter. At the Trans Canada Highway's Mt. Lehman exit, are some further signs of important moves afoot, affected by the airport's strategic position. Much of that action has happened in three short years.

Speak of positioning -- a glance at any map of the 100 mile stretch from Vancouver to Hope reveals that over 700,000 Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley residents are within the airport's marketing area, According to recent studies, that figure represents the number of persons who live closer to Abbotsford Airport than its biggest competitor, Vancouver International Airport. Just drive east from Vancouver any time and you'll see what we mean -- wall to wall cars. Small wonder, so many inbound and outbound passengers love our new terminal with its convenient parking and laid back atmosphere.

WestJet Airlines' scheduled Boeing 737 service started the ball rolling three years ago; now that company's daily flights have been increased and its links extend far beyond the original Abbotsford-Calgary- Edmonton triangle. You can connect via Alberta to Grand Prairie, Prince George, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Hamilton and before long- to Montreal. With Canada 3000 Airlines providing direct weekly service to Toronto's Pearson International Airport, since June, Abbotsford Airport's passenger figures for the year should top the 200,000 mark. What's next -- the Okanagan, Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas?

Across the broad tarmac of Abbotsford Aiport, the Conair Group's new $50 million aircraft maintenance facility looks ready to go, and is scheduled to open in October. According to Conair Group, business volume is expected to double and employment to triple by 2004.For over 60 years, since World War II, Abbotsford Airport has been a key economic engine in the Fraser Valley. It has generated significant revenues and created employment throughout the region.

Recently, Herman Driediger and the Abbotsford Airport Authority initiated an Economic Impact Study to measure the impact of the airport on British Columbia.

Distance to:
U.S. Border Customs:
Mount Baker:
White Rock- Customs:

Harrison Hot Springs:
Tsawwassen Ferry:
*Victoria & Nanaimo
Horsehoe Bay Ferry:
Nanaimo, Bowen
Island, Langdale, Sunshine Coast.

3 Km (2 miles)
28km (17 miles)
70km (42 miles)
70km (42 miles)
72km (43 miles)
48km (29 miles)
68 km (40 miles)
75 km (45 miles)
100km (60 miles)

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