A push is underway to greatly expand the aviation industry in southern Ontario.

Members of The Southern Ontario Airport Network, which includes Lake Simcoe Regional Airport, unveiled their vision for the next 30 years on Tuesday.

In the short term, the 11 airports want to attract more investments, increase air service, and expand labour, security and customs technology.

On the long term front, the network wants to support the transformation of Pearson International Airport into a mega hub, and put southern Ontario on the map for the aviation business, while also expanding aerospace activity.

“It's a long-term play by the airports of how to change the marketplace, how to change the dynamics,” says Simcoe County Warden Gerry Marshall. “It's well received and we're very appreciative.”

It’s an ambitious goal. The network estimates 37 per cent of the Canadian economy involves aviation in some form.

“Over the past 24 months, the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport has generated over $9 million in private investment for commercial aviation facilities that support the airport’s 2,500 jet/turbine aircraft movements annually,” a network report indicated on Tuesday.

But the network believes there could be more growth for passenger flights among southern Ontario airports. In the next 15 years they want to increase the number of routes into and out of this portion of the province.

Officials believe Lake Simcoe, Peterborough and Niagara airports already have the capacity to start or provide more charter and scheduled services.

“So those who know New York know there it's a little known airport in New Jersey that serves New York City for corporate aviation. Barrie is ideally positioned for that,” says Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman. “We also have Canada customs, which is a big deal in our industry because you can fly into our airport from anywhere in the world.”

The network also believes airport land can be put to better use. Several airports have added solar farms, and soon, Lake Simcoe Regional Airport will do the same. Air Georgian does operate out of the airport under the Air Canada Express label.

It will ultimately fall on each individual airports to come up with its own plan to fulfill this vision, which could be quite costly.

However, The Southern Ontario Airport Network warns that being complacent will ultimately drive business south of the border.