June 23rd, 2024

Renovations taking off at Lethbridge Airport

By Trevor Busch - Lethbridge Herald on December 8, 2021.

Herald photo by Trevor Busch Renovations to the Lethbridge Airport terminal building in 2021 have added new washrooms, an expanded passenger holdroom, replacement of old furniture and new charging stations for laptops and cellphones.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtbusch@lethbridgeherald.com

With an end goal in mind of enhancing the passenger experience while making significant investment in critical infrastructure, the Lethbridge Airport has seen some important improvements completed in 2021.
After investing $2.6 million into the airport, the City has leveraged an additional $23 million in Provincial and Federal grant funding for a variety of projects.
“That’s the most exciting part. We’ve put in about $2.6 million and leveraged it, and got back $23 million in provincial and federal grant funding,” said Mayor Blaine Hyggen during a media sneak peek at the airport terminal on Tuesday. “That is just the best news story ever, when you can get less than ten cents on the dollar here to do an expansion like this, it’s fantastic.”
Funded through the City of Lethbridge, MSI funding, and the Regional Air Transportation Initiative, renovations to the terminal building have been mostly completed in November. This includes expansion of the passenger holdroom to allow for increased passenger numbers with additional airlines, as well as accommodating larger aircraft. Washroom facilities have also been incorporated into the passenger holdroom and old seating has been updated, which includes phone and laptop charging stations.
“I’ve been out here numerous times, and to see the changes that have happened is extraordinary, it’s amazing,” continued Hyggen. “I look back here at the seating area, the restrooms – so you’re not having to leave security again if there’s a flight delay or something – it’s been amazing, incredible changes. And a lot of the stuff we don’t see. A lot of the stuff is infrastructure stuff that is not seen with the naked eye.”
Additional renovations to upgrade parking lot technology and installation of a new baggage carousel have been slated for 2022.
Airfield upgrades and pavement rehabilitation, funded through the Municipal Stimulus Program and the Transport Canada Airports Capital Assistance Program, are also underway and scheduled for full completion in 2023. Work already finished includes upgrades to the pumphouse and water line service for fire response, installation of a new sand storage shed, and replacement of the runway tar kettle.
Expected to be completed by 2023 will be rehabilitation of aircraft maneuvering areas (Taxiways A, B, and C; Apron I, II, and III; and Runway 13/31). The airport’s antiquated airfield lighting system will be replaced with LED to meet Transport Canada standards, and there will also be an extension of Taxiway B to enable future development of airside access lots.
According to Hyggen, the City sees opportunity for future expansion through the YQL Business Plan 2021-2024 which focuses on increasing passenger traffic and revenue diversification through land development. Once fully funded, the YQL lands could potentially provide $10 million annually in lease revenue and an additional $10 million in tax revenue.
“Coming out of the pandemic is going to be a struggle in any line of work, but as we begin to open up these airline services and get the travel going that we need, there’s going to be a lot better opportunity here to expand here, even further in Lethbridge if it’s with other carriers, so whatever that may be. We have what we’ve got, and we’re doing a great job considering the pandemic that is upon us.”
When asked if he had a vision for the airport in the future, Hyggen isn’t dreaming small.
“To have a vision of having an international airport would be fantastic, with storage, and expanding the area just around the airport as well, to increase that revenue and drop down city taxation as well. It’s important, there’s so many things to happen, but in 20 years I’d love to see it three times this size, bigger airlines coming in, and leaving from here to international destinations.”
The Lethbridge Airport has seen a 228 per cent increase in passenger movements in Q3 when compared to the same period in 2020, reports the City. The grand opening of the newly-renovated Lethbridge Airport is slated for late January 2022.

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