Transfer of Airport to Peace River Regional Airport Association
Posted December 7, 2020
Following a ratification vote during Council’s November 23 meeting the Peace River Regional Airport has been officially turned over to a new ownership group.
Effective December 15, 2020, the successful non-profit entity will officially take over ownership and operation of the Peace River Regional Airport. The airport will be operated by local business people who live and work in the region.
Statement from the Peace River Regional Airport Association
The Town of Peace River has announced its intention to transfer the assets and operation of the Peace River Regional Airport to a local not-for-profit organization, Peace River Regional Airport Association Ltd.
As local residents, business owners and avid aviators, we believe Peace River’s airport is both an asset and an economic driver to the peace country. We see opportunity to grow not just commercial, but general aviation activity and are committed to returning the airport to a time of prosperity. By doing so we can gain access to our local residents and open up business opportunities to help grow our community. We are open for business.
By taking a business centered approach to the operation of the airport we will streamline processes, reduce operating expenses and have a dedicated approach to the growth and promotion of the airport.
We are excited to announce our Board of Directors all of whom are local residents as listed:
Jeremy Hand – Private Pilot, Aircraft Owner, CEO – Avenge Energy Services
Brett Smyl – Private Pilot, Aircraft Owner, Dealer Principal – Mighty Peace Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd
Mitch Krzysztan – Commercial Pilot, Aircraft Owner, President – Northern Air Spray and Two Five Farms
Nate Hilman – Airline Transport Rated Pilot, Aircraft Owner, President – Northern Air Charter (PR) Inc.
Matt Gannon – Private Pilot, Aircraft Owner, President – AGS Mechanical
With over 100 years of combined business experience and a mutual love of aviation and dedication to the Peace Region, the team is uniquely qualified and exceptionally motivated to take Peace River’s airport to the next level.
“The airport should be viewed not as a want but rather a need for the Peace Region and we are willing to face the challenges to not only keep it operating, but make it an inviting place to do business” said Mitch Krzysztan.
“As not only a local business owner but as well an aviation enthusiast, I look forward to taking on the challenge of running and maintaining the Peace River Airport. The Town of Peace River has maintained a very impressive facility and we feel we have put the right team together to carry on” said Matt Gannon.
“The challenges are real with the economy as it is but general aviation is a growing industry and with Peace River’s strategic location, we see opportunity to promote not just the airport, but the region. We will bring a consensus focused approach to airport management to ensure equality and opportunity for those who visit or invest at Peace River’s airport” adds President of the Board, Jeremy Hand.
“My intentions are to help aid in the growth and success of the airport and making it enjoyable and useable to more people in the peace country. With my experience in business, non-profit groups and being a pilot I believe we can accomplish great things for this airport!” said Brett Smyl.
Says Nate Hilman, “the Peace River Regional Airport is such a vital part of our region and history which also supports air ambulance and fire-fighting services. We look forward to working with new and existing businesses, together, as we strive to bring value to this important infrastructure.”
As a group already invested at the airport and committed to ensuring the viability of the asset going forward we are excited to embark on this endeavor. We would like to thank the Town of Peace River for their management efforts to date as well as the MD of Peace, Town of Grimshaw, County of Northern Lights, and Northern Sunrise County for their support of the airport both past and present.
Background on Board Members:
Jeremy Hand is the owner and founder of Avenge Energy Services in Peace River, Alberta. He started his company in 2005 and it specializes in fluid management and industrial cleaning services. The company services Peace River and its surrounding areas as well as Fort McMurray, Fort Saskatchewan, Grande Prairie, Edson and Fort St. John. Jeremy, on behalf of Avenge, donates hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to the communities in which it operates. Avenge is currently the largest privately owned fluid management and industrial cleaning company in Alberta. Avenge also received the 2019 Business of the year award by the Chamber of Commerce in Peace River.
In early 2019, Jeremy took partnership of a King Air 200 airplane alongside two other men in Peace River for business purposes. Jeremy also owns part of an airport hangar in Peace River that is currently under full renovation to modernize and meet the needs of space and access.
Jeremy has just completed his private pilot’s license. He also owns 2 other planes privately and hopes to advance his aviation skills to ultimately become a commercial pilot over the next two years.
Brett is a local resident of Peace River for the past five and half years. He is a local businessman in the town of Peace River for the last 5 years as well, being heavily involved in the community with such events and charities as the Rotary club and Rotary House, Misery Mountain Ski Hill and Mighty Peace Hill Climb, Peace River Air Show, and a ton of charitable events and functions in Peace River.
Fairly new to the aviation world, Brett just completed his private pilot’s license just over a month ago and is a frequent flyer of a 1975 Cessna 172M. Brett’s intentions are to help aid in the growth and success of the airport, making it enjoyable and useable to more people in the peace country.
Mitchell Krzysztan owner of Northern Air Spray Ltd and Two Five Farm Ltd operates a large-scale grain farm and aerial application business for the purpose of serving farmers in the Peace Country and surrounding area.
During his 15-year farming career, Mitchell has found time to apprentice as a heavy duty mechanic, work construction in the oilfield, own and operate commercial class 1 trucks, acquire his United States FAA commercial pilot’s license in Florida, as well as Canadian TCCA commercial pilots license followed by the incorporation of Northern Air Spray Ltd in 2019.
Mitchell has been successfully operating a 2019 Thrush 510P turbine out of the Peace River airport since spring of 2019. He has also been very active in creating interest in general aviation and can be found flying an American Champion 7gcaa frequently in his spare time or helping others learn to fly.
Nate Hilman is the president of Northern Air Charter in Peace River, Alberta. Northern Air has been operating from the Peace River Regional Airport for more than 30 years. Northern Air is a steadfast supporter of its community, and a sponsor for minor hockey teams, Peace River Airshow, local rodeos, Peace River Victim Services, Air Cadets and various charities.
Nate has been passionate about aviation for more than 3 decades and bought his first aircraft when he was 16 years old. Since then, he has accumulated more than 8000 hours and has flown in 11 different countries. Nate’s business partner owns and operates a 750-acre airport and operates a fleet of more than 140 aircraft.
As a prominent stakeholder at The Peace River Regional Airport, its success and viability is at the top of Nate’s priorities.
Matt is the owner and president of AGS mechanical contractors LTD, a general contracting company specializing in the municipal sector. Matt has managed the company for 15 years and owned it for 11 years. AGS was a small family based company when Matt and his wife purchased the shares and they grew it into a 30-50 employee based company. Matt and his wife also started Main-Way electrical and instrumentation during those years and have since sold the operating shares.
Matt started to train for his private pilot’s license in the spring of 2018 and acquired it in one year. Since gaining his pilot’s license he has purchased his own plane and hangar at the airport. Matt flies every chance he can to safely build hours. Matt is working on his IFR rating and hopes to achieve it in the next 2 years.