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Airport Authority Announces Plans to Restore International Lounge

(Gander, NL August 28, 2019) The Gander International Airport Authority (GIAA) today announced plans to restore its historic international lounge.


The $1.5 million project focuses on the preservation, restoration and adaptive reuse of the space, which is widely regarded as the best-preserved Modernist room in Canada with an historic legacy spanning multiple wars and the Golden Age of aviation. The aesthetic of the international lounge will be broadly maintained and new elements will be introduced to create a compelling visitor experience.


GIAA will renovate approximately 9,000 square feet of surplus space for an historic theatre, gallery and room for heritage preservation. The GIAA plans to introduce interpretive storytelling elements to profile the airport’s history. The renovations will include restoration of some of the airport lounge’s original furniture, decor and artifacts.


Opened in 1959 with the blessing of Queen Elizabeth II, Gander was one of the busiest airports in the world and the terminal building was designed to showcase Canada’s finest architecture, designer furniture and art to international travelers.


“Gander International Airport can be both a conduit to the world and a hub for the community,” said GIAA President and CEO Reg Wright. “This project seeks to reawaken, restore and repurpose underutilized space and spur economic development. While primarily a tourism-motivated project, waking up the lounge and returning access to residents and the world will be an exercise in place making. GIAA will adopt a new approach to an old airport with new promises and new opportunities.”


The federal and provincial governments will provide support to help the GIAA to renovate the space. The Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, through the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, are each contributing $500,000 towards the initiative. GIAA is also contributing $500,000 towards the project.


“I commend Gander International Airport Authority on its vision and strategic plans for this underutilized space at the airport. Reviving this important part of Gander’s aviation history will contribute to tourism growth and lay a foundation for new business opportunities in this region,” said Scott Simms, Member of Parliament for Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA.


“We are pleased to partner with the Gander Airport Authority and ACOA to introduce interpretation in historic areas of the airport as part of modernizing the international lounge area,” said the Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation.  “The recent success of Come from Away has increased demand to the lounge from non-resident visitors. This project will result in new people and program experiential tourism to existing infrastructure and activities, which is a goal of our Tourism Product Development Plan and the Central Destination Development Plan.”


“These renovations will preserve Gander’s rich history as a hub of world aviation and provide the services necessary to serve the growing tourism potential of the Town of Gander and the entire region. The work being done by the Airport Authority to merge preservation and progress is something we can all be proud of,” said John Haggie, MHA for the District of Gander.


About Gander International Airport Authority

The Gander International Airport Authority is the not-for-profit organization created in 1996 to manage operations at Gander International Airport (CYQX). Gander International Airport offers scheduled and charter service from Air Canada, Provincial Airlines, Sunwing Airlines and WestJet.  The airport plays a key role in the economic and community development of the Central Newfoundland region. The airport’s economic contribution includes 1,260 full-time jobs, $90 million in wages, $140 million in gross domestic product (GDP) and $240 million in economic impact.


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For further information, please contact:


Reg Wright, President and CEO

(709) 256-6668


Paul McGrath

Director of Communications


(709) 772-2984


Eric Humber

Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation

(709) 729-4819, (709) 725-9655



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