The production floor at Viking Air at the Victoria International Airport. Viking employs hundreds of people on the Saanich Peninsula to build components of their Twin Otter aircraft. (File)

Victoria airport nearing billion-dollar mark in economic impact

Airport has nearly doubled its passengers and its impact on the economy since 2005

Growth at the Victoria International Airport is contributing to growth in the economy of Greater Victoria — to the tune of $880 million in 2017.

This, according to a report released Wed., Jan. 17 by the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA). The report, conducted by InterVISTAS, looks at the economic impact of the airport on the regional economy and in the rest of the province. The last time such a study was done was in 2005, indicating that the airport’s economic output was $441 million and contributed directly or indirectly to the employment of 2,920 people.

RELATED: Nearly two million passengers in 2017

The latest report points to a doubling of the economic output. That, according to the InterVISTA, is a measure of the spending and employment associated with the operation of the airport — from its main role as a transportation hub, to the industry operating on (and off) its property.

InterVISTA found that the airport generated $420 million in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and $880 million in economic output — “the gross dollar value of industrial output produced by and reflecting the spending by firms, organizations and individuals.”

VAA President and CEO Geoff Dickson said in an interview that the results of the study was not really a surprise. He said they knew the airport was having a larger impact on the economy — especially since they have almost doubled their own traffic since 2005.

“We are in … a growth business,” he said, adding the report can help explain to people what the dollar value is of that impact on the economy.

The report shows that the airport contributed to 4,700 jobs, representing $270 million in wages paid out in 2017. Those jobs are direct employment at the airport ($170m) as well as in indirect jobs ($60 million) and induced (jobs created by the spending of direct and indirect employees) wages of $40m.

In a breakdown, there were 2,800 direct jobs at the airport in 2017 — from airport operations to building and land tenants and subtenants, military, government and more. Those jobs are both full-and-part-time positions.

Another 1,900 jobs are classed as indirect or induced, such as suppliers to the airport and its tenants and those businesses who supply goods and services to employees who work on VAA land.

“Intuitively people understand the importance of an airport to the local community, but not necessarily the actual economic impact,” Dickson said in a media release. “We wanted to quantify the annual dollar amount, and when you see numbers approaching one billion dollars in annual impact, it drives home the importance of a vibrant and growing airport.”

The airport also pays a significant amount of tax — $81 million overall. They pay $59m to the federal government, $17m to the province and $5 to municipal government on the Saanich Peninsula.

The full report can be found at

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