Business

Major airport renovations set to begin

The doors to Prince Rupert Airport’s will remain open throughout substantial upgrading projects in its terminal building, on its airfield and to its water treatment system. Airport manager Richard Reed stands in front of YPR with his son Brody. - Martina Perry
The doors to Prince Rupert Airport’s will remain open throughout substantial upgrading projects in its terminal building, on its airfield and to its water treatment system. Airport manager Richard Reed stands in front of YPR with his son Brody.
— image credit: Martina Perry

Extensive work on the aging Prince Rupert Airport (YPR) is set to start later this month.

After securing a $7 million loan from the City of Prince Rupert last year, the Prince Rupert Airport Authority is preparing for its terminal building to be renovated, airfield and access road asphalt work to be done and the creation of a new water treatment system.

“I think people will be very happy with the results here,” said Richard Reed, manager of the Prince Rupert airport.

The most noticeable change to passengers will be the $5.2 million renovation of the terminal building is complete, the only recognizable space in the terminal building will be the foyer.

However, the open concept will extend to where the bathrooms are currently located, as well as the waiting area and meeting room, which will be converted into the new baggage claim area.

“Over half the building will be open space,” said Reed.

New bathrooms will be constructed where the administration offices and storage room sit, which will join with the employee lunchroom and kitchen in the corner of the terminal.

Airline check-in counters will be relocated to what is currently the baggage claim area, with additional counters being constructed and extra room to expand if needed. Located beside the counters, a new bag drop conveyor will bring luggage into the pre-board screening area.

“[Everything will be modern] so when people arrive from other places in the world they don’t feel like they’re in a time warp. I think customers from our community will also appreciate it,” said Reed.

The holding room will also be completely redone, extending back onto the terminal’s airside.

“We’re going to push out the hold room and increase the size so it will hold enough passengers for a 737, for example,” said Reed, adding a second bathroom will also be constructed.

The terminal building won’t just look better, it will feel better after a new, energy efficient furnace and heating system is installed. A common complaint from airport users has been the difference in temperature throughout the terminal, with the new system better regulating where heat goes.

The first phase of interior renovations will be expanding the holding room, creating the new baggage claim space, as well as moving check-in counters and administration offices.

The terminal’s exterior must also be redone, with the work starting on the roof. Once completed, Reed said the building’s exterior will consist mainly of windows, with steel siding covering the remaining portion.

Work on YPR’s airfield and access road will also kick off later this month. The $10.5 million project will have the asphalt on the runway, apron and taxi ways redone, along with the road from the ferry dock.

The Prince Rupert Airport Authority is hoping to get financial assistance from Transport Canada or the Airport Capital Assistance Program after applying for grants.

Asphalt work will be significant but won’t affect air traffic.

“We can’t close the runway to do the work. That would be absolutely impossible with the traffic we have,” Reed said.

Overall there will be 6,000 feet of asphalt upgrades on the runway, that will be done in 2,000-foot sections.

Reed said work will take place at one end of the runway followed by the other, with the middle section being done last and during nighttime hours.

Another major enhancement project that will start this summer is the replacement of the airport’s water treatment plant. This is usually a costly endeavour, but Reed said architects have designed a rain water collection system that will save nearly half a million dollars in costs.

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