Alberta Aerotropolis

The Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Association is collaborating with municipalities and businesses in the region to support the economic development of the Alberta Aerotropolis region. Together the Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Association is working to develop and implement strategies to support business investment and development in the short, medium, and long-term.


What is an Aerotropolis?

An aerotropolis is considered a metropolitan sub-region where the land use, infrastructure, and economy are centered on an airport. As the airport develops, it increasingly becomes an ‘airport city’ surrounded by commerce, retail, entertainment, and a mixture of commercial and industrial activity.



How will the development of the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) impact the economy?

The economic activity surrounding the EIA is garnering national media attention. The airport has been the fastest-growing major airport in Canada over the last 10 years, generating over $2.2 billion in economic activity in 2014.

According to a 2014 study produced by MXD Development Strategies and Stantec Inc., it is estimated that the economic impact resulting from development on and around the EIA will produce 62,000 new jobs, with 35,000 of these jobs in the Leduc region. The cumulative effect of these developments will result in $67 million in net new annual non-residential tax dollars and generate an additional $6.7 billion in GDP to the province beyond the current $7 billion.

The same 2014 study identified 8 sectors that tend to agglomerate as an airport becomes a mature ‘airport city’. These sectors include advanced manufacturing, aerospace, agri-business, energy, education, ICT, life sciences, transportation, logistics and distribution, and general retail and commercial.


Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Association’s Alberta Aerotropolis Development Project

The Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Association (EDA) has been awarded a 2-year CARES grant from the Government of Alberta to undertake an Alberta Aerotropolis development project. The Leduc-Nisku EDA is providing project management expertise under the guidance of a project steering committee comprised of representation from the City of Edmonton, City of Leduc, Leduc County and the Edmonton International Airport.


The project will proceed in two phases.

The first phase includes research and engagement of existing firms in the region that align with the development of the ‘airport city’ and represent growth opportunities for the region. This research and engagement with industry will inform the development of strategies for regional municipalities to undertake land use planning, investment attraction, and economic development in the short, medium and long-term.

The second phase of the project requires implementation of these strategies. Cluster development will be a strong component of the economic development strategy. This will require ongoing engagement with industry will be necessary to ensure cluster development initiatives are targeted appropriately. Ongoing engagement also serves to ensure our strategies remain relevant over time.

If you would like to participate in the Alberta Aerotropolis project, consider participating in our phase one research survey. It will only take about 10 minutes to complete.


Regional Collaboration

Today we see large developments at various stages of planning and construction around the EIA including:

  • Costco Wholesale;
  • Aurora Cannabis Inc.;
  • The Premium Outlet Collection shopping centre;
  • Century Mile Racetrack and Casino; and
  • New industrial parks.


These, and other developments are helping to diversify the regional economy; but to see continued momentum requires a coordinated response and the development of strategic plans for land use, investment attraction, and economic development.

In recognition of this need, the City of Edmonton, the City and County of Leduc and the EIA have formed an agreement to cooperate and coordinate their efforts. The airport accord outlines how municipalities will develop and implement strategies for the planning and economic development of the aerotropolis region on and around the EIA.


This collaboration is essential if we are to realize a brighter future and maximize economic development and wealth creation. Access to an efficient multi-modal transportation network that includes road, rail, and the EIA is a competitive advantage for the region. As demand for serviced land intensifies, it is critical that the region continues to invest in essential infrastructure to maintain positive momentum.


Next steps

As the Leduc-Nisku EDA approaches the end of phase one of the Alberta Aerotropolis project we are preparing to engage key firms in the region to formulate our economic development strategies. When complete, the phase two project implementation will require ongoing efforts of the Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Association and our municipal partners.

For updates regarding the completion of phase one and implementation of phase two later in 2018, please contact Sandra McIntosh, Aerotropolis Project Manager, or sign up for our weekly newsletter for regular updates on this and other activities of the Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Association.


Sandra McIntosh
Community and Business Program Lead
Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Association
C: 780.297.7266