The Hamilton International Airport is set to launch its Airfield Rehabilitation and Modernization Project this year, which is impressive for a few reasons.
For one, the upgrade speaks to how much the airport is thriving. Our hub has long been dubbed the country’s largest overnight express cargo airport and centre for e-commerce. We’re smack-dab in a key trade corridor with access to ports, trains, highways, and U.S. border routes. A look at the last two years alone shows a 20% increase in air cargo touching-down or taking-off from our tarmac.
Our passenger traffic? Not too shabby either. Try a 118% jump from 2016 to 2018 in the number of travellers served, swelling to over 725,000 in a year. (Thank ya, Swoop.)
As momentum builds, limits to our current infrastructure become clearer. Enter: the Airfield Rehabilitation and Modernization Project, an initiative to make airport operations safer, greener, and more reliable.
“Modernization,” says President & CEO Cathie Puckering in the recent announcement, “will ensure longevity.”
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There are three project components: strengthening runways, improving taxiway systems, and upgrading airfield lighting (breakdowns of each can be found here). Changes will happen in phases — over the next four years — to keep interruptions and closures minimal. (It’ll still be a dream to navigate compared to that other airport.) The end result promises to better accommodate hefty freighter planes, smoothen 24/7 operations, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
It’ll cost a pretty penny ($38.89 million, to be precise) covered in part by Transport Canada’s National Trade Corridor Fund and topped off by the airport’s operator Tradeport International Corporation.
It’ll also contribute a pretty penny to the Hamilton region’s labour income. Hamilton International estimates $2.1 billion in annual economic activity thanks to these investments. Over 350 construction jobs will be up for grabs, as well as over 800 additional full-time jobs created between now and 2024.
“With this investment,” adds Mayor Fred Eisenberger, “our airport will see critical new safety measures implemented and further promotion of talent and services available in Hamilton.”
That’s the lowdown for our lil’ hometown airport — it’s growing up so fast.