La Caisse invests C$53m in Québec airport

The pension fund manager is one of several Canadian financial institutions that helped Aéroport de Québec raise C$265m through a bond issue to finance the hub's expansion.

La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (La Caisse) is providing C$53 million (€38.3 million; $43.1 million) for the expansion of Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport, the Canadian fund manager said in a statement on Thursday.

The financing is in the form of a term loan and part of a C$256 million bond issue Aéroport de Québec (AQi), the airport’s manager and operator, completed to finance expansion of the airport’s arrivals terminal.

“Expansion of the international terminal will help increase world air traffic in the Québec City region, fostering the region’s economic development,” said Marc Cormier, executive vice president for fixed income at La Caisse.

Aéroport de Québec aims to increase the number of passengers travelling through Québec City to 2 million passengers annually by 2020. Last year, the airport handled more than 1.5 million passengers, making it Canada’s 12th busiest airport.

According to AQi’s website, the operator has budgeted C$277 million for a project to expand and redevelop the airport, the largest such scheme in the hub's history. YQB 2018, as the redevelopment project is called, consists of more than a dozen individual construction projects and a number of IT programmes.

The cornerstone of the project, however, is the expansion of the arrivals terminal, which will include adding more baggage carousels for international flights, a new and improved customs area, an expanded food court, four new gates and a new loading zone.

YQB 2018 also calls for an upgrade of other airport facilities, such as a new, multi-level parking area; new aircraft parking spaces; bringing existing gates up to standard; and resurfacing the runway.

More than 10 carriers currently operate out of Jean Lesage International Airport, flying to destinations in North and Central America, the Caribbean and Europe.

“By improving its infrastructure, the organisation expects to be able to increase its capacity and better serve its market,” La Caisse said. “Ultimately, the expansion project aims, among other things, to attract new air carriers and develop additional routes.”

Established in 1965, La Caisse now serves 32 depositors, primarily public and private pension and insurance funds in Québec. According to its website, it is one of the largest institutional fund managers in Canada and North America.

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