The Northwest Regional Airport is getting $250,000 to help with its planned $15 million terminal expansion project.
The money from the Northern Development Initiative Trust was announced today at a ceremony held at the airport.
To start this fall, the expansion project will feature a new check-in hall, an expanded wait room for passengers, an easier way to check baggage, a new security screening area, new check in area and new offices for resident airlines.
“The Magi from the east have come with gifts three months before Christmas,” Ron Burnett, President of the Terrace-Kitimat Airport Society, said in accepting the money.
Earlier this year, the trust provided $250,000 to help finance a $1 million third aircraft parking stand. This new allocation is to be effective in the next fiscal year.
“Thank you for the second grant of $250,000 this year,” Burnett continued. “We are recognized as being on the right track.”
He said the airport is now awaiting bids on the planned fall start to the terminal expansion project.
Officials from the Northern Development Trust called the event a celebration of the 1,500th project they have helped financially.
Airport manager Carman Hendry says the first upgrades to roll out will be to the check-in hall, baggage area and new airline offices.
July’s passenger figures at the Northwest Regional Airport confirm the need for the terminal expansion, says Hendry.
Airport statistics show 23,267 passengers using scheduled flights in July, the highest monthly total on record yet.
The year to date passenger figure as of the end of July was 144,404, meaning that the airport will have no trouble topping the 2013 calendar year total of 177,294 by the end of this month and comfortably exceed the 200,000 figure by the end of the year.
“And that’s for scheduled flights. We don’t count charter [passenger] numbers,” said Hendry.
While summer months can be busy with general tourist traffic and specific recreation pursuits such as anglers coming into the region, continued work on sites for potential liquefied natural gas plants and accompanying pipelines as well as work to complete Rio Tinto Alcan’s smelter rehabilitation project have resulted in a much busier airport compared to even two years ago.
The addition of the third aircraft parking stand in front of the terminal building means being able to handle three aircraft at once, reducing the wait times now being experienced by passengers, said Hendry.
And an expansion of the airport’s long term parking lot from just over 300 spots to 800 will be done before winter, Hendry added.
As traffic at the airport grew, passengers were hard pressed to find room to park vehicles.
A new area for employee parking is also being developed which will mean more spots coming open for passenger parking.