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It’s a Newfoundland thing

It’s a Newfoundland thing

On average, 2.1 greeters/well wishers are on hand to welcome passengers arriving to the airport.

GIAA will pursue a renovation for its aging Air Terminal Building

Approach aims to shore up the best of new and old

(Gander, NL August 16, 2017) As part of its capital planning review, the Gander International Airport Authority (GIAA) has opted to pursue a renovation of its air terminal building.


“As a board, we are committed to the most fiscally prudent approach to address our outdated, inefficient and oversized terminal building,” said GIAA Chairperson Des Dillon. “In 2014, we announced our intent to pursue a new ATB as the preferred option, but the landscape has completely changed with falling oil prices and the resultant economic downturn. Our board constantly revisits our assumptions and we are more interested in doing the right thing than staying a course which might not produce the outcomes we hope. A renovation, retrofit and rightsizing of our terminal building gives us the greatest probability of success.”


The proposed renovation carries a hard construction cost of $26.4 Million. The plan includes removing 31% of the building, which represents an area reduction of 4,242 square meters. The two key areas to be removed include the east loading pier, known locally as the “finger”, which has been mothballed for decades, as well as the oversized flight kitchen and adjacent underutilized facilities on the southern side of the building.


Public areas of the airport will see major finishes and upgrades. The concept calls for a complete replacement of the mechanical and electrical systems, including a supplemental geothermal energy system. International and domestic baggage halls will be consolidated and expanded. The control tower will be renovated and the plan calls for the air terminal building to receive new insulation, roofing, glazing and cladding systems.”


The historic international transit lounge will be retained and restored and serve as the domestic departures hold room, with a movable partition to accommodate sterile international passengers. A relocated food concession will allow full menu service pre- and post-security.


GIAA President and CEO Reg Wright said this approach will underpin the airport’s long-term viability, noting that building maintenance and energy expenses ran $1.2 Million in 2016, despite supressed heating oil prices.


“This is about making investments that insulate the airport against risk – especially with regard to energy costs. Older buildings are subject to failure, regardless of how proactive your preventative maintenance program. Our mechanical and electrical systems are largely archaic and well past useful lifespan,” he said. “By reducing our footprint and resultant energy consumption, engineers expect we can realize energy savings of $300,000 annually. Utility savings have a direct correlation with our profitability and viability.”


The original portion of the air terminal building was commissioned in 1959 while subsequent additions were made in the late 70s, Mr. Wright noted.


“This is about right-sizing – getting the airport a cost-efficient home to meet its current and projected future needs. The building has its shortcomings, but it is structurally sound, so there’s a strong spine we can build on to get the benefit of a significant renovation without the hefty cost of a new building. This approach allows us to retain and celebrate the historic essence of Gander International Airport. This will also improve the passenger experience at Gander. After all, we are the welcome mat to Central Newfoundland. This will help us to deliver the contemporary, efficient passenger experience we strive for.”


Mr. Wright explained that, after seven years of lobbying, the federal government enacted a change in policy last month that allowed National Airport System (NAS) airports like Gander to compete for Federal funding. The GIAA has commenced discussions with government officials about support for the terminal project.


“Government listened attentively to our concerns and made an important policy change. This allows us to seek out provincial and federal investment in this all-important project like every other small airport in Canada,” he said. “There have been 50 jobs created here over the last two years and another 50 in the pipeline in the aerospace sector for the next few years. Against that context, we are seeking a one-time investment from government partners that gives us a foundation for the next forty years. Public sector investments will be quickly repaid in the forms of jobs, growth and incremental taxes.”


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


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