Calgary airport can't spare a dime for the C-Train until employment takes off

The Calgary Airport Authority says it doesn't have any money to help build an LRT link to the bustling travel centre, but density plans could help build a case.

There aren't enough workers at the travel hub to justify an extension at this time, says president and CEO

Bob Sartor, the CEO of the Calgary Airport Authority, says there's not a strong enough case for the organization to help fund a C-Train extension to the travel hub. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

The Calgary Airport Authority says it doesn't have any money to help build an LRT link to the bustling travel centre. 

But president and CEO Bob Sartor told city council on Monday they are working on a plan to increase the use and density of airport lands.

He says if the plan is successful, it could help build the case for a future LRT connection. 

"Today we have 24,000 people working at the airport. How do we get 50,000 people working at the airport in the next seven to 10 years?" he asked.

Sartor said they are looking at what kind of businesses the airport needs to attract and what kind of transportation needs those businesses might have. 

"Then all of a sudden you'd start creating an employment node that is separate and distinct from downtown, that would have the kind of critical mass that could justify transit," he said. 

Next up

Mayor Naheed Nenshi, speaking to CBC News in January, said a link to the airport is next up in the city's 30-year transit plan. 

"We have to build out the Green Line first, which is a huge, mega, multi-year project," he said. 

"But once the Green Line is done, it will allow for a people-mover along Airport Trail from the Green Line station through to the airport, to the Blue Line, to the northeast line, and that is the long-term plan."

Sartor said more than 16 million people flew through the Calgary airport last year, up 3.8 per cent from the previous year.

With files from Scott Dippel