Airport security gets a boost with creation of Airpole
The Sherbrooke and Haut-Saint-François Regional County Municipalities (RCMs) along with several other collaborators has announced the creation of a centre of expertise in airport security at the Sherbrooke airport. The centre, named Airpole, will provide integration, training and innovation services to key players in the airport industry to promote the emergence of new technologies and more efficient protocol measures.
The consulting firm Explorer Solutions was mandated to conduct a market study and create a business plan. The company has identified the current needs of the airport industry. It found that continuous education of the “skills refresher or skills upgrade” type for airport managers and senior executives was in great demand.
“In the airport environment, interoperability exercise simulation in major crisis situations is very uncommon and adequate infrastructure is lacking,” said Bernard Ricard, president of the Airpole Board of Directors.
The Airpole centre will address these needs by organizing its activities around three business units: CENFOR for hands-on education and training; TIC, a technology and equipment integration and testing centre; and the TS, a technology showcase. These three sites will allow first responders, law enforcement officials, airport managers and staff along with the rest of the aviation industry access to optimal infrastructure that will allow for specialized training and research.
The centre of expertise’s establishment will require major investments of nearly $22 million. According to the study prepared by Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, the economic benefits that construction activities will bring are estimated to total $14.6 million, including $10 million in direct economic impact. According to the same study, construction activities would create or maintain 187 jobs across Quebec while the centre’s utilization would create or maintain 986 jobs over 10 years, including 840 jobs in the region.
The prefect of the Sherbrooke RCM, Bernard Sévigny and deputy prefect of the Haut-Saint-François RCM, Robert G. Roy, welcome the announcement of the creation of a centre of expertise in airport security at the Sherbrooke Airport.
“The project is very beneficial for the Estrie region and is the result of an alliance between an urban and a semi-rural area,” Sévigny said. “At a time when governments are reducing their investments in many regions, this project represents an attractive development opportunity.”
Sévigny added that: “This is a structuring project for Sherbrooke and the Estrie region, a project that will showcase our strengths in research and in training. Although the project isn’t related to our vision of seeing the Sherbrooke Airport offer passenger services, it will be a facilitator for other projects at the Sherbrooke airport.”