Airport board chair Gary MacCarthy, Terrace mayor Carol Leclerc and Skeena MLA Ellis Ross cut the ribbon in June at the celebration of the grand opening of phase one of the airport expansion. (file photo)

Northwest Regional Airport wins award for terminal expansion project

Award sponsored by the BC Aviation Council

The Northwest Regional Airport has won an award for its $18.5 million terminal expansion project.

Presented annually, the William Templeton Award, named for a First World War pilot who was the first manager of the Vancouver airport, recognizes initiative and achievement for airport projects within B.C. and is sponsored by the B.C. Aviation Council.

“This recognizes the [governing] society’s work and vision in how the airport is changing from a local one to now becoming a regional facility, a transportation hub,” said airport general manager Carman Hendry who along with airport development manager Dave Kumpolt, airport operations manager Sonya Gill and Terrace-Kitimat Airport Society vice president Bill Hickman will accept the award at a gala in Vancouver on October 23.

Completed in June after three years of construction, the project tripled the airport’s hold room, check-in facilities, baggage handling area, cargo storage and washrooms.

Hendry said the project is based on a master plan to provide space for regular passenger and business growth for the next 20 years.

“It calls for a phased-in approach,” said Hendry of future projects amounting to $60 million which include an expansion of the airport’s arrivals area, resurfacing runway taxiways, improving roads and parking areas and a major modernization of the airport’s water and sewer system.

“They took a prudent approach of first establishing an airport master plan and then proceeding with expansion which can be tuned to the growth in traffic,” said Mark Duncan, an aviation consultant and past chair of the B.C. Aviation Council.

”The airport board has also been very proactive in working with their communities as well as the airlines and tenants,” said Duncan, adding that the airport’s master plan is a prudent approach.

“Often airports either overbuild or underbuild without considering traffic demand and timing the airport to the actual traffic,” he said.

“Carman Hendry has done a good job working with his airline partners which is demonstrated by the growth in Westjet traffic and other airline services. I can not think of another airport that has had to plan in such an uncertain demand scenario.”

Last year’s Templeton award winner was the Alberni-Clayoquat Regional District, with the Port McNeill Municipal Airport winning in 2016 and Kelowna International Airport the year before.

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