New projects highlight Manitoba’s aviation roots
Jan. 24, 2012, Winnipeg - The Western Canada Aviation Museum (WCAM) Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA) and Exchange Income Corporation (EIC) announced today plans for building infrastructure to forever connect Manitoba to its aviation roots, provide new connections with the North and a state of the art vision for the future.
The joint announcement sees the creation of a new facility to house the world-class collection of bush aircraft and other one-of-a kind artifacts of the Aviation Museum. Additionally EIC announced the development of a state of the art maintenance facility for large aircraft in its fleet of 100 aircraft. The transaction will see EIC invest in a long term lease with WAA for 40 years on what is now the WCAM site. Additionally, understanding the importance of preserving where they've come from, EIC will contribute $2.5M towards the capital campaign for the new WCAM purpose built site. EIC's four airlines have operated for an average of 50 years.
On hand supporting the announcement, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said, "By choosing to make James Richardson International Airport its headquarters for aircraft maintenance and by creating so many good-paying jobs for skilled technicians, Exchange Income Corporation will strengthen Winnipeg's position as the Gateway to the North." Premier Selinger continued, "This new high-tech facility, plus the new larger home for the aviation museum will also provide a significant economic boost for the airport and the region."
Barry Rempel, WAA's President and CEO agreed saying, "We are honoured to be working with incredible partners, people, who standing on the shoulders of a rich aviation heritage see a future of connectivity with the emerging North". Rempel continued, "Enabling the development of EIC's new aviation home leverages WAA assets in a way which provides greater opportunities for the people of the region we serve."
"Critical to our success is having the infrastructure to make sure our people have the right tools to do their work. We've announced our plans to acquire Custom Helicopters and will be developing combined services such as air ambulance using our newly acquired helicopter business. With the growth of our existing passenger, cargo and air ambulance work, we've simply run out of space in our current facilities. For our people to contribute the best they can, we needed contiguous facilities and the further development of our EIC campus in Winnipeg. This building will facilitate our needs and future growth of our aviation companies", said Mike Pyle, president/CEO of EIC. "We're focused on providing our customers and the communities we serve the very best product in the most cost effective manner," he continued.
Ross Robinson, the co-chair of the WCAM Capital Committee said, "This is wonderful news for Canada's, if not the world's, best collection of historically significant Bush aircraft and Canadian aviation artifacts. Thanks to the hard work on behalf of the Province, the WAA, the Western Canada Aviation Museum and EIC with their outstanding gift, our plans are underway to relocate directly next to the new terminal building in a fabulous new facility. Like 1930 Fokker Super Universal in our collection, the second such James Richardson purchased to open up Canada's North, we have many one-of-a-kind examples of bush aircraft retrieved from forests, tundra, mountainsides and even the bottom of lakes. We're very grateful for EIC's generous gift.