Officials at the Saint John Airport are anxiously awaiting word from the federal government on funding that they hope will lead to major infrastructure upgrades.
They’re looking for $11 million from the National Transportation Corridor Fund.
That’s enough to fund half of a $22-million project to repave the airport’s two runways and install new LED runway lighting.
“We’ve just come off an excellent year in 2017 with a 5.2 per cent passenger increase and our business plan for 2018 calls for that to continue to grow even further,” said Saint John Airport president and CEO Derrick Stanford.
“With the added traffic within the airport, the need for infrastructure improvements will continue to grow.”
Since the Saint John Airport privatized in 1999, along with a number of Canadian airports, it has been completely self-sufficient, receiving no federal funding.
“They have a strong case for funding,” added Saint John-Rothesay MP Wayne Long.
“We’re pushing the file forward and we are certainly getting some very very positive feedback from the Department of Transport.”
Long says the airport is deserving of the funding.
“YSJ’s ask for infrastructure money for upgrades for the runway — the centre line runway lighting is a necessary improvement that they need,” he said. “They’ve somewhat fallen behind other airports due to the lack of federal funding over the last several years.”
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One focus will be improving the number of Saint John air travellers who use the local airport — currently at 48 per cent.
“The competition I guess would be more around Saint John Airport reclaiming the passengers it loses to other airports so we take that challenge quite seriously,” said Stanford.
Word on funding could come sometime this month.