Joyce Carter

Investor Spotlight


Joyce CarterJoyce Carter

President & CEO
HIAA


 

 

This month we talked to Joyce Carter, President & CEO of the Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA). HIAA manages and operates Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

Tell us about HIAA and the greatest opportunities/challenges that lie ahead?

“HIAA is a locally controlled, non-share capital corporation. In 2016, we had a record year for passenger traffic, welcoming more than 3.9 million passengers. It was also a record year for cargo with 33,330 metric tonnes processed. We’ve seen good numbers so far in 2017 and we expect to set new records again this year.

Halifax Stanfield is a major economic generator, valued at over $2.7 billion to the provincial economy. We are actively pursuing ways to enhance our overall economic impact. A good example is our focus on cargo growth. While cargo business is not a large revenue stream for us, we recognize its positive economic impact. We have made a number of significant investments in our cargo business, most recently a new $5 million dedicated area for parking and handling of cargo freighters. This addition improves turnaround time and makes Halifax Stanfield more attractive to cargo operators who are interested in doing business in Nova Scotia. We are working hard to secure cargo carriers to Asia and Europe as demand for Nova Scotia live lobster and other seafood products grows.  

On the passenger side, air service growth continues to be the key focus for us. Here, our opportunity is also our biggest challenge. Increasing air service not only provides Nova Scotians with additional travel options, it creates new employment and provides additional access to our province, boosting inbound tourism. We continue to engage with government officials to ensure we invest sufficiently in air access. We understand the role we play in helping Tourism Nova Scotia achieve its goal of increasing annual tourism revenues to $4 billion by 2024, as almost one-third of the province's tourists enter Nova Scotia through Halifax Stanfield. The more flights, the more capacity we can bring to Halifax Stanfield, and the easier it will be to achieve the ambitious $4 billion goal.

 

What do you see as the greatest advantages of operating a business in Halifax? 

"Our geographic location is a major advantage. It allows us to be a gateway for Atlantic Canada, and we have the potential to develop our airport into a gateway for all of Canada. 

Halifax Stanfield offers a U.S. preclearance facility which allows passengers travelling non-stop to the U.S. to clear customs prior to leaving Halifax. This is a terrific advantage for all passengers and in particular those who are travelling on business as it makes travel much more efficient. 

As well, Nova Scotia has a fabulous niche product in our live lobster. That speciality export combined with great infrastructure, competitive landing fees and handling costs, 24/7 operations including Canada Customs, a U.S. pre-clearance facility, and no noise restrictions make us attractive to potential airline partners.

We also have a solid partnership with our Halifax Gateway partners. Working with the Port of Halifax and CN Rail, we are able to showcase the benefits of a multimodal transportation system and promote opportunities and growth here in Halifax. A great example is the new convention centre, as we expect the majority of conference and convention participants to arrive in Nova Scotia by air."

 

Hiring youth is important to the economic growth of Nova Scotia. What is HIAA doing?

"In 2015, we entered into a partnership with Dalhousie University and developed our International Student Program. We have committed to hiring students from Dalhousie’s Corporate Residency MBA Program for eight-month paid work terms over a three-year period. The goal of this program supports many of the goals presented in the One Nova Scotia Now or Never Report, including creating opportunities for young people and new immigrants, and enhancing diversity while improving Halifax Stanfield’s connections with foreign markets.

We recognize young professionals are key to the success of our region. To this end, a member of Fusion Halifax sits on our Community Consultative Committee and we engage on a regular basis to gain perspectives on a number of airport initiatives. 

It’s also important we raise our industry’s profile among youth and demonstrate the critical role airports play in global and social networks. Many youth may not even consider working in the airport or aviation industry as a career, however, it’s a sector that is growing and one I would encourage our local youth to explore. 

In total, there are about 5,500 people who work in the airport community with plenty of opportunities for youth. In fact, many of our service providers and tenants employ relatively large numbers of young professionals."