Direct Access to Your US Market

The Bellingham International airport (BLI) is located in Whatcom County (map) and borders the Lower-Mainland / Fraser Valley region of British Columbia, Canada. With four motor vehicle ports of entry into Blaine, WA and Blaine’s close proximity (20 miles or 32 kilometers) to the airport, BLI offers multiple advantages to the BC business traveler.

From most B.C. locations like White Rock, Delta, Surrey, South Surrey, Langley, Aldergrove or Abbotsford, BLI is less than an hour drive away. That travel time is expedited when traffic at the border crossing is light &/or you use a Nexus card (more information about border times and Nexus can be found at UCanTrade.com).

In fact, border wait times are down. There has been a 10% decline in motor vehicle traffic at the Pacific border crossings to date this year compared to the same period in 2015, reports Dave Gallagher of the Bellingham Herald, the weakened Canadian dollar primarily to blame. “When the loonie was nearly at par with the U.S. dollar a few years ago,” reports Gallagher, “it was estimated that more than half of the [airport] passengers were Canadian.”

Even with current exchange rates, travel through BLI still continues to offer “executives and personnel from B.C. companies who conduct their business through Whatcom County … low cost business travel [options] to their U.S. market,” says Jim Pettinger, president of UCanTrade, Inc. Direct flights offered by regional airlines to major cities within U.S. states like Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and California save B.C. business travelers both time and money.

Bellingham International Airport

We welcome visitors! If you are planning a trip to your U.S. market via Bellingham International airport, please consider stopping by UCanTrade, Inc. for a visit! Our 25,000 square foot warehouse is conveniently located just off Interstate 5 between Blaine and Bellingham, at Exit 260, Slater Rd. We’re right on the way and would love to give you a tour.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Read more from the Bellingham Herald HERE

Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center opens in former IMA Warehouse Space

By: Elliott Smith

A building formerly occupied by International Market Access, Inc. (IMA) in Bellingham has found a new purpose: public safety. The Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center (WUECC) was dedicated on July 18, 2014 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Warehouse

The Building that now houses the WUECC was home to IMA From 1997 to 2009.

The building, located adjacent to Bellingham International Airport at 3888 Sound Way is owned by the Port of Bellingham, and was occupied by International Market Access, Inc. from 1997 to 2009.

In 2009, IMA moved to 1465 Slater Road in Ferndale, giving our clients convenient access to Interstate 5. At that time, the Sound Way building was retrofitted by the US Department of Homeland Security for use as a federal, state and local coordination center for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC. The Center was closed in 2011, following the conclusion of the Winter Games.

Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo reached out to the BP Cherry Point Refinery to discuss establishing a new coordination center in the building. Multiple government agencies, including the City of Bellingham, Whatcom County and the Port of Bellingham formed a partnership to open a new Emergency Coordination Center.

BP donated equipment and furnishings that had been used during the company’s spill response on the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, when BP employees from around the country were sent to the Gulf to assist with the cleanup. Furnishings and equipment used in that effort will now go on to have a further useful life at the WUECC thanks to BP. In addition to BP’s support, neighboring refinery operator Phillips 66 donated $50,000 towards infrastructure enhancements at the WUECC.

Emergency Management

Officials cut the ribbon to officially open the WUECC on July 18, 2014. Photo courtesy Bellingham Police Dept.

The WUECC facility now serves as an Emergency Coordination Center. The space includes a large operations room, a communications/radio room, five meeting rooms, and two large multipurpose areas. The size of the facility provides adequate space for 300+ federal, tribal, state, local, private sector and volunteer response personnel. When not activated for a disaster, the facility provides space for meetings, trainings and exercises

More information about the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center is available on their website.

 

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: imawa@ucantrade.com


Expanded Bellingham International Airport Keeps Costs Low, Welcomes Canadian Travelers

By: Elliott Smith

Overview

2013 was a busy year at Bellingham International Airport (BLI), with 600,000 passengers boarding airplanes. Terminal expansion work recently concluded by the Port of Bellingham has boosted the airport’s capacity to about 800,000 enplanements per year. An enplanment is defined as a person boarding a flight; total annual passenger volume (arrivals and departures) is double that, or 1.2 million in 2013. With a new capacity of 800,000 annual enplanments, Port officials estimate BLI is now prepared to accommodate up to 10 years of growth.

Keeping Costs Low

One thing that was not included in recent expansion work: jet bridges. Larger airports like Seattle-Tacoma International (SeaTac) and Vancouver International (YVR) use elevated terminal buildings and have passengers board aircraft via mobile jet bridges. Those were not included in renovations at BLI and there is no plan to include them in the near future. The reason is cost. Daniel Zenk with the Port of Bellingham explained that jet bridges cost $1 Million dollars to build, and nearly $250,000 per year to maintain.

“We are a low-cost airport for low-cost airlines” Zenk said. For the foreseeable future, passengers will continue to board airplanes at Bellingham International Airport by walking out on the airfield at ground level, and entering the aircraft via mobile ramps. The mobile ramps can accommodate wheelchair passengers, or those needing assistance.

Airport boarding ramp

Bellingham International Airport uses mobile ramps for aircraft boarding. The ramps give all passengers, including wheelchair passengers, boarding access while avoiding the multi-million dollar cost of jet bridges.

 

Airport management at BLI is committed to controlling costs, to keep airlines bringing passengers to the area. “Airlines bring in your customers” Zenk explained, so the airport is dedicated to keeping operating costs low to ensure airlines can continue to operate profitably from Bellingham. One example of this: no overnight aircraft parking fees. Unlike many larger airports, airlines do not pay a fee to park their aircraft overnight at the terminal. Zenk explained that management’s goal is to support the airport by using non-aviation revenue, such as vehicle parking fees.

Baggage & Terminal Expansion

Highlights of recent expansion work include the addition of a modern baggage carousel, addition of an extra boarding gate, and the expansion of the Scotty Brown’s restaurant in the gate area. The expanded boarding area can now accommodate 850 people. The modern baggage system can handle luggage from a Boeing 757, a Boeing 737 and a Bombardier Q-400 all at the same time.

 

Baggage Claim

The new baggage claim carousel at Bellingham International Airport can accommodate three simultaneous flight arrivals.

Allegiant Air flies the 757s to Las Vegas and Hawaiian destinations. Alaska Airlines utilizes the 737 to serve Las Vegas and Hawaii as well. The Bombardier Q-400, made in Canada, is popular on shorter routes for its fuel efficiency, and is used by Alaska to connect Bellingham with SeaTac and Portland. The old baggage system, essentially a slide, was built when smaller planes served the airport with low frequency. With the addition of more flights by larger aircraft, the baggage upgrade was necessary to keep the airport’s capacity in line with demand.

The Digital Airport

Before the recent expansion work, there was minimal information available on departures and arrivals. Now, there are 96 flatscreen televisions displaying flight information and other news. Digital technology allows airlines to share workstations. The fully digitized gates and ticketing counters allow any airline to use any boarding gate or check-in desk. Airline staff simply log in to access their company’s computer network, and the airline’s logo and flight information is displayed on the screens above.

Complimentary WiFi is also available for passengers throughout the terminal.

Airport Departures

96 flatscreens display departures, arrivals and other news throughout Bellingham International Airport

Airport Gate

The Digital Airport. Any airline can use any gate at Bellingham International.

Canadian Travelers

A 2013 survey of 1000 passengers boarding airplanes at Bellingham International Airport found that 52% of those surveyed were Canadian residents. The Port of Bellingham’s Zenk added that there are 3.2 million people living within a 90 mile radius of BLI, many of them are Canadian. “We are more than happy to accommodate them” says the Port’s Emily Tuma, of British Columbia residents traveling out of BLI.

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 prepares for departure to Las Vegas. The BLI-LAS flights are popular with Whatcom County and British Columbia residents.

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 prepares for departure to Las Vegas. The BLI-LAS flights are popular with Whatcom County and British Columbia residents.

Canadian currency is not accepted for parking fees. The airport accepts US cash and major credit cards. Information about Canadian debit cards was not available as of press time; this post will be updated when more information is available.

Bellingham International Airport

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 prepares to taxi. Destination: Las Vegas McCarran International.

Although international airline service is not currently available at BLI, there are about 1,200 international general aviation (private) flights to the airport each year. The majority of these are private aircraft coming from Canada.

Local Contractors

The Port of Bellingham hired local contractors to complete the recent expansion work. Dawson Construction of Bellingham was the lead contractor. The Port’s Zenk noted that construction activity was held to about $1 Million dollars per month of work during the renovation, because that was the maximum scope that local contractors could accommodate. The Port was committed to hiring Whatcom County firms.

A behind-the-scenes look at the baggage conveyor system at Bellingham International Airport. Recent upgrades included a modernized baggage system, new boarding gate and expanded restaurant.

A behind-the-scenes look at the baggage conveyor system at Bellingham International Airport. Recent upgrades included a modernized baggage system, new boarding gate and expanded restaurant.

Tours

The public is invited to tour the newly renovated Bellingham International Airport terminal. Free tours will be offered on July 19, 2014 from 12:00 noon to 4:00 PM.

For more information about the tours, visit Bellingham International Airport’s website.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: imawa@ucantrade.com

 


Getting to Bellingham Airport: Bus & Parking Options

By: Elliott Smith

The Bellingham Herald reports that parking will be tight at Bellingham International Airport the next two weeks, as Spring Break travelers take to the skies.

Port of Bellingham officials are encouraging Whatcom County residents to take taxis, get dropped off by friends, or carpool. Nobody who needs a parking space will be turned away, but available parking may less convenient and further from the terminal.

Bellingham Airport

Bellingham Airport parking will be tight in late March / early April 2013. Plan extra time to find parking, or explore bus options.

British Columbia residents flying out of Bellingham should carpool, or take the Quick Shuttle or Bolt Bus if possible.

The Quick Shuttle offers multiple daily trips with service from Vancouver to both the Bellingham Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International (SeaTac). There are several pickup locations in Downtown Vancouver, and at YVR Airport. Fares from Vancouver to the Bellingham Airport start at $39 each way. More info at http://www.quickcoach.com/

Another option for getting to the Bellingham Airport without a private vehicle is the Bolt Bus. The Bolt Bus departs from Vancouver’s Pacific Central Station, and stops at Bellingham’s Cordata Station, 3 miles from the airport. There is no city bus/transit service to the airport, but cab fare from Cordata station is only $9-$10, Blue Cab 360-734-3787 and Yellow Cab 360-733-8294 both serve the area. Bolt Bus fares from Vancouver to Bellingham range from $1-$13, plus a $1 booking fee. More info at https://www.boltbus.com//

If you do choose to drive a car, know that there are several private vendors offering off-site parking nearby with shuttle service to the airport, in addition to the on-site lots operated by the Port. Easy Airport Parking at 3360 Airport Drive, Wiki-Wiki Park ‘n Shuttle at 4770 Pacific Hwy and Bellingham Parking LLC at 3703 Bennett Drive all offer off-site parking with shuttle service. Rates, shuttle hours and reservation requirements vary, so call ahead.

With lower taxes, and cheaper fares, Bellingham International Airport offers an attractive alternative to YVR to many British Columbia travelers. Flights to Hawaii and other warm, sunny destinations are popular with Northwest Washington and Lower Mainland BC residents, and will be busy through the two week Spring Break period starting March 22. So if you’re catching a flight out of Bellingham in the near future, plan ahead. Leave extra time to find parking if you drive, or consider one of the options for getting to the Bellingham airport from the Lower Mainland without a car.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade