Northwest Regional Airport commenced $16.4 million expansion

Terminal building to be renovated including passenger hold area

Workers at the Northwest Regional Airport were busy last week building forms in which concrete will be poured for walls as a $16.4 million expansion and renovation project gradually begins to take shape.

One wall of more than 24 feet in height is already up for the expansion which will branch out from the current security and passenger hold area side of the main terminal building.

A substantial portion of the terminal building is to be renovated as well with the goal of expanding the passenger hold area and providing a more efficient way for outgoing passengers to board aircraft.

The airport has tagged late 2017 for the completion of the project which is being partially financed by a $4.4 million grant from the federal and provincial governments.

A further $250,000 has been received from the Northern Development Initiative Trust, which assists in infrastructure construction, and the remainder of the money is coming from a fee of $7 being charged for every outgoing passenger, says airport general manager Carman Hendry.

“As soon as the debt is paid off, that fee will disappear,” said Hendry in estimating that will take between seven to 10 years.

The expansion and renovation should be sufficient for the airport’s passenger needs for the next 20 years, he said.

And in the planning of what should take place, the emphasis has been on the departing passenger.

“That’s the passenger who is in our terminal the longest. The one who we want to have a bite to eat, to use some of our services, to be comfortable. Departing can be stressful. The arriving passenger is just here long enough to pick up their luggage and leave,” said Hendry.

With that in mind, the emphasis is on having the departing passenger take as few steps as possible to check in themselves and their luggage.

The current combined baggage and passenger security screening area will be done away with in favour of a separate luggage drop off and separate passenger screening areas.

That will make both actitivies more efficient and make passenger screening flow quicker, said Hendry.

And while there has been no clearance yet to construct two passenger screening lines, provision is being made to add a second when it does become necessary, he added.

“The existing hold room will also be gutted and renovated and expanded and more washroom capacity added,” Hendry continued.

The existing room contains 80 seats and there’s an overall capacity, with people standing, of 121 passengers.

The new one will have 220 seats and enough space for a combined seated and standing capacity of 350 people.

Space will be made for the larger hold room by taking up the current board room area and moving the board room across the terminal building.

“The current hold room was built in 2005. What we really want to do now is have one of a size as called for in our master plan [so] that we don’t have to do this again for 20 years,” said Hendry.

He’s particularly happy with how departing passengers will exit the hold room to board their aircraft.

Instead of the one small counter at which an airline employee now checks boarding passes and IDs, there will be three and the counters will be large enough so that two employees can process two lines of passengers.

Passengers will then enter a corridor running the length of the hold room and exit directly to their aircraft through one of three exits.

“They’ll be exposed to the elements as little as possible,” said Hendry.

And should there be two or more flights boarding within a short time of each other or at the same time, separate exits will help eliminate confusion about where to go.

Hendry said the expansion is geared soley to meet community needs and that any passenger surge from large scale industrial projects will be handled by those projects providing their own terminal facilities.

If there’s lots of work going on at the main terminal building, the airport society also has plans for its recently-enlarged longer term parking lot.

It’s expecting to install a ticket system so that a ticket is dispensed to someone arriving and who then pays when leaving based on the time their vehicle has been parked.

The society also wants to make improvements to its septic tank system which is at capacity and wants to increase its water infrastructure as well, said Hendry.

 

 

Just Posted

The District of Kitimat issues a water advisory

Three fires over the weekend underscore the need to conserve water

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

LNG Canada to build two salt marshes

Offsets will mitigate the effect of construction

Police patrol for looters in evacuated areas south of Burns Lake

RCMP have brought in extra officers for the task

Kitimat opens its arms, and its hearts, to wildfire evacuees

Emergency Social Services invites volunteers to apply

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Smoky skies trap B.C. man inside for days

Air quality warning issued for Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley

Case of truck driver charged in Humboldt Broncos crash adjourned until October

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu is charged with 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death, other charges

REVIEW: MTV VMAs was a shocking event, for the wrong reasons

MTV Video Music Awards lacked star power and felt flat and some of the winners turned heads

4.6 quake detected off coast of Vancouver Island

The small earthquake happened early Tuesday morning

Quesnel RCMP seize gun, drugs after stopping man cycling without a helmet

The man had a warrant out for his arrest and was carrying illegal items in a backpack

Puppies picked up by BC Wildfire crew to be returned to family

They were just leaving the Monashee Complex of fires when they found the cutest creatures.

At least 14 illegal fires set in Fraser Valley this month

Conservation officers are fed up with people not listening to the province-wide fire ban

B.C. woman promoting ‘orange glow’ campaign to support firefighters

A Penticton woman is hoping an orange ribbon campaign will catch on throughout B.C.

Most Read