Friday, March 05, 2010

Airport seeks help to get money to resurface runway
(abbreviated version of article published Thursday March 04/10 in the Daily Gleaner)

The Fredericton International Airport Authority Inc. is continuing to line up its financial paperwork as it presses its funding case with federal-provincial and municipal authorities. The airport authority met with Fredericton city councillors recently, not seeking municipal cash, but the needed municipal support to round out its funding applications.

Both city council and the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce have endorsed the need for runway repairs and a terminal expansion and will lobby the cause. Its top need is $10.5 million to resurface Runway 1533, its shortest runway. Within two to three years, that runway will have exhausted its lifespan.

The airport authority also wants to push out the exterior walls of the terminal building around the departure area. That's been estimated to cost $11.5 million. The departure lounge for the terminal is close to the airport's cafeteria and lounge area, so that section of the terminal gets jammed with people. The proposal would be to push out the building footprint toward the parking lot area.

The airport authority is arguing its cause armed with a study prepared by LPS Avia Consulting of Ottawa and handed to the airport board in June. The airport has been experiencing consecutive growth and higher passenger counts, especially with its late winter-early spring flights to the Caribbean. It had a record-breaking 270,435 passengers through its doors in 2008.

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