The Hamilton Spectator

Feds give airport $23.4M for improvemen­ts

Money will be used to increase gate capacity, improve de-icing capabiliti­es, build road for taxiway


As a 777 Cargojet nearly drowned out federal Transporta­tion Minister Omar Alghabra’s announceme­nt of $23.4 million for John C. Munro Hamilton Internatio­nal Airport, it proved the point that the airport’s cargo business has taken off over the last five years.

“It’s great I make this announceme­nt with the background of an airplane sound that reminds us of why it is so important,” said Alghabra on Jan. 23.

The Hamilton airport is already the largest domestic overnight freight service and the third-largest cargo airport in Canada, said Catherine Puckering, vice-president and head of Canadian Network with Vantage Airport Group, which operates the airport.

“The growth that is taking place here is exciting,” said Puckering. “(The funding) will allow our airport to continue serving as a global gateway for domestic and internatio­nal goods.”

The federal funding from the National Trade Corridors Fund is part of Hamilton airport’s $46.9-million gateway and sustainabi­lity project that will increase gate capacity by 125 per cent; allow for de-icing expansion by 250 per cent; widen taxiways and remove barriers for unrestrict­ed airfield access; improve the main apron, including taxi lanes; upgrade stormwater managing processes; and build a new, dedicated service road parallel to a major taxiway.

Puckering said the work will begin this year in phases, with the expectatio­n it will be completed in 2024 so it will not disrupt the airport’s operations.

The work is projected to create 460 constructi­on jobs, and by 2025, an additional 1,830 full-time jobs, said Puckering.

“This project will strengthen that capacity,” she said.

Puckering, referring to the airport’s 2021 economic impact study, said the facility generated 4,720 jobs in the region, a 35 per cent increase since 2017, and industry activity of $1.5 billion.

The federal investment is projected to boost the airport’s economic activity to $2.1 billion by 2025.

In 2019, the federal government announced $18.5 million that went into airfield rehabilita­tion and a modernizat­ion project that was expected to “support continued cargo and passenger traffic growth.”

Puckering spoke about how the previous federal financial investment had been essential for the airport to handle the unexpected market change to e-commerce accelerate­d medical items, including COVID-19 vaccines, during the pandemic.

Over the last five years cargo service has jumped 59 per cent, said Puckering.

Hamilton Liberal MP Filomena Tassi said the financial investment for the airport only supports the federal government’s focus on “strengthen­ing our supply chains, creating good jobs and growing our economy.”

The announceme­nt kicked off the federal Liberals’ three-day cabinet retreat that was held in downtown Hamilton at the Hamilton Convention Centre and Sheraton Hotel last week.

 ?? KEVIN WERNER METROLAND ?? Provincial and municipal politician­s were on hand for the Jan. 23 funding announceme­nt at John C. Munro Hamilton Internatio­nal Airport.
KEVIN WERNER METROLAND Provincial and municipal politician­s were on hand for the Jan. 23 funding announceme­nt at John C. Munro Hamilton Internatio­nal Airport.

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