Parking spots for LNG Canada first leased at the Northwest Regional Airport in 2015 hinted at eventual approval of the Kitimat project and the prospects of increased activity at the airport. (File photo)

Northwest Regional Airport traffic increases

LNG announcement has sparked interest

The Northwest Regional Airport could end up matching the record monthly passenger traffic numbers recorded in 2014 during the economic boom associated with Rio Tinto’s modernization project.

Airport general manager Carman Hendry says passenger traffic at the airport has been climbing steadily compared to last year, a sign of increased interest in the economic prospects for the area.

September’s total of 21,251 people was up 11 per cent over the same month last year, while August’s 23,856 figure marked a 12 per cent jump compared to last year. July’s 22,343 total was seven per cent higher than July 2017.

For now Hendry said the airport has bumped its passenger projections up to 228,000 for its fiscal year beginning April 1, which would surpass totals of the past several years but is not as high as 2014 when the passenger count exceeded 250,000.

The record passenger numbers came during the previous economic development surge brought about by Rio Tinto’s aluminum smelter rebuild at Kitimat, the construction of BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line and mining developments to the north.

He said apart from the increased traffic the airport has also been fielding inquiries about leasing and other commercial opportunities at the facility since last month’s LNG Canada Final Investment Decision.

“Phone calls. Lots of emails. There’s been a lot of interest,” said Hendry of the airport which markets itself as the central transportation hub for the region.

Just this summer the airport’s governing society purchased the large blue hangar located at the ‘T’entry intersection to the airport and has since leased it to Alberta-based ONEC, an engineering and construction company which works throughout Western Canada and which also has operations in the western U.S.

That building once housed maintenance operations for now-defunct regional carrier Hawkair.

In anticipation of continued growth, the airport has also expanded its long-term parking area which can now hold up to 800 vehicles, which doubled the previous parking capacity, noted Hendry.

As well, the rental car parking area which was located beside the short-term parking area at the main terminal building has been moved to a new location beside the terminal building’s cargo handling facility.

The former rental car parking area has just been converted to a 40-spot paid lot for people who want the convenience of parking as close as possible to the terminal building, said Hendry.

“You park, go in, check in, go to the restaurant and then call us at the airport office,” he said. “It’s $20 a day and you can park there for as long as you want.”

Along with increased economic activity, the airport is also exploring the idea of displaying local artwork inside the main terminal building.

To that end, it has been canvassing the members of its non-profit ownership society — the City of Terrace, the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce and the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce — for ideas, said Hendry.

The airport society does not have a budget to purchase artwork so a revolving series of art could be an option, he said.

Just Posted

Chevron’s move to exit Kitimat LNG project a dash of ‘cold water’ for gas industry

Canada Energy Regulator approved a 40-year licence to export natural gas for Kitimat LNG

Snowfall warning continues for parts of B.C.’s Interior

First significant snowfall of the season prompts Environment Canada warning

Here are the top earners at Coast Mountains School District

Audited financial report released for 2018/2019 fiscal year

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Sentencing for B.C. father who murdered two young daughters starts Monday

The bodies of Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, were found in Oak Bay father’s apartment Dec. 25, 2017

Most Read