Spring isn’t the only thing in the air at Nanaimo Airport.
Anticipation and excitement also abound as the airport breaks ground on its multi-million-dollar expansion in the coming weeks. Tenders are being reviewed for the project’s first phase, which will enlarge the air terminal building. Work can start once the construction company has been chosen.
The expansion will create more comfort and efficiency for passengers. A 14,000-square-foot addition will increase the terminal building’s size by nearly 60 per cent. The extra room will create more space in the security area, so travellers and their baggage can move faster through the screening. (The airport provides space for security but has no involvement with security procedures or equipment; by law, that’s the responsibility of the federal Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.)
Passengers will also enjoy the benefits of a much larger departure lounge. The area was temporarily expanded last year to prepare for the expansion project. Now it will grow again, more than doubling the number of seats available to waiting passengers to about 320 from the current 140.
In addition to having more room to relax and stretch their legs before catching a flight, passengers will be able to shop at a food outlet when the work is done. They’ll continue to have access to vending machines and a kiosk in the meantime. The airport’s Blue Navigators volunteers will be available to assist travellers.
The work is part of a 20-year airport expansion plan to help ensure the Airport continues to meet the needs of the communities it serves, today and for future generations.
The $14 million infrastructure investment is shared by the federal and provincial governments under the Building Canada Fund, and the Nanaimo Airport Commission. The B.C. Airport Assistance Program is also contributing.
Record-setting passenger numbers continue to reflect Nanaimo Airports’ position as the Central Island’s airport of choice. Last year 358,000 people passed through the gates.