The $14.2 million terminal building expansion at the Nanaimo Airport is officially open.
As passengers come and go from the airport, they now go through a new, larger and more efficient terminal.
“It takes the 140 seats of the old lounge and makes it 320 now and it also takes the security from about 100 people an hour to the capacity of a 1000 people an hour into the future,” said Mike Hooper, president and CEO of the Nanaimo Airport Commission.
On Friday, dignitaries got their first look as the building was officially opened.
The province and federal government helped fund the expansion and this is phase one of a 20-year airport expansion plan worth $55 million.
It will be built out as projected demand increases.
The expansion makes the Nanaimo Airport the second largest on Vancouver Island and the airport’s head says it’s among the fastest-growing in Canada.
In each of the past 11 years, the airport’s passenger numbers have increased, in large part because of an instrument landing system allowing planes to land in lower visibility.
“We’re now 99.2 per cent reliable,” said Hooper.
“We have great air carriers including Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and WestJet. We’re flying non-stop to Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto and the region has been growing tremendously.”
Nanaimo’s mayor likes what the expansion means for the region
“Looks fabulous,” said Leonard Krog.
“It speaks to confidence in Nanaimo, it speaks to confidence in Vancouver Island. It’s a wonderful addition, a great benefit to the flying public and we know a half-million people a year coming through this airport.”
And airline passengers going through the terminal like what they see.
“The renovations are amazing. Everything from the security line ups to the washrooms. All the details are beautiful,” said Matthew Williams, a Nanaimo resident who was flying out of the airport.
The airport’s CEO says the number of passengers using the airport is only projected to go higher.