In 2007, Lakes District Airport Society received a $80,000 grant from Northern Development through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program towards this $415,584 project. This has been a funding partnership of Lakes District Airport Society, Northern Development, Bulkley Valley Credit Union, Burns Lake Community Forest Ltd., Local Businesses, Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, and Union of BC Municipalities
2012-People flying into Burns Lake are welcomed at a new airport terminal that is bringing workers, tourists, and families home to the Lakes District region. In the four years prior to the upgrade in 2008, the Baker Airport in Burns Lake had an increase of 300 per cent in airport traffic. The terminal was built at the right time to facilitate the growing amount of airport users and to help stimulate regional economic growth.
The airport previously had a small terminal before it was replaced that was not well equipped to meet facility demand and needs of both air carriers and the public. With the new terminal at the Baker Airport, local residents will have better emergency services as the airport is now used for medi-vac service. Lakes District Air Services Ltd. is a principal commercial user of the improved airport, offering aircraft charter services and fly-in only wilderness adventures and getaway packages to the region.
The replacement terminal is a 2,560 square foot single floor building that includes a number of new and improved features including an emergency equipment storage room, freight handling area, central meeting room, new washrooms that include showers and handicap access, a new administration area that includes computerized mapping and weather equipment, a new kitchen and public eating area, an improved resting area that includes a bed for pilots that can be used on bad weather stay overs and long hauls.
For more information, see the Lakes District News feature on the opening of the Baker Airport terminal in 2011, Baker Airport Terminal Officially Opened.
"Our airport terminal project continues to have positive economic influence on the valley from the hiring of local contractors during the construction phase to the hiring of employees for day-to-day operations. The airport society’s vision is for continued expansion of operations as the facility is attracting repeat industrial users."Gordon Douglas, Vice President, Lakes District Airport Society
"A total of fifty three medivac flights flew out from the Baker Airport one year, nineteen in another year ... even if it is just one flight a year, saving one life makes it all worthwhile."Reg Blackwell, President, Lakes District Airport Society
"In the past twelve months, commercial operators have worked out of the area due to the two kitchenette suites, which allow aircraft operators and crew to stay over on site. Funding received from Northern Development Initiative Trust was vital to the completion of our project."Gordon Douglas, Vice President, Lakes District Airport Society
The new Baker Airport terminal provides direct positive economic and social benefits to the Lakes District communities including Burns Lake and its surrounding rural areas. The new terminal operation jobs have been created following completion of the infrastructure project have directly benefitted families in the area. The airport has added a new full-time permanent cafeteria position, a new full-time fuel sales position, and has increased the number of positions for training instructors at the flight school.
The airport is becoming a destination for refueling and jet fuel sales in northwest British Columbia for local traffic and United States flights to Alaska.
The new terminal at the Baker Airport is assisting with the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako's and the Village of Burns Lake's new business attraction and expansion initiatives by improving local transportation and shipping capabilities in the area. The terminal continues to provide a fully functional facility for business travellers arriving by air.