Hamilton’s airport is about to begin a four-year, $38 million infrastructure project that will support future growth, particularly on the cargo side of its business.
Hamilton-West Ancaster Dundas MP and Canada’s Minister of Seniors Filomena Tassi has announced federal funding of more than $18 million, about half the cost of the work, which includes runway upgrades and extensions and improved lighting systems.
The Airfield Rehabilitation and Modernization Project will also accommodate the increasing use of larger wide-body aircraft for domestic and long-haul trade routes to Asia and Europe.
Tassi notes that “we work so hard to get these trade agreements, but trade agreements are only valuable if you’ve got the infrastructure in order to capitalize on the ability to export.”
The upgrades are expected to begin this year and airport officials say they will take four years to complete.
The investments include four major elements:
- Strengthen the Airport’s primary runway: Runway 12-30 is one of Southern Ontario’s longest runways, and investment will facilitate current and future heavy freighter traffic. Rehabilitation of instrument landing and low visibility systems will improve overall reliability.
- Strengthen the Airport’s secondary crosswind runway: Investments will be made to improve the efficiency of Runway 06-24, which serves as the alternative approach and departure path for diversion flights during inclement weather.
- Upgrade taxiways systems: The airfield’s support system of taxiways connecting to the runways will be upgraded to accommodate growing 24/7 aircraft operations.
- Upgrade airfield lighting: Advanced LED lighting technology will be implemented on the airfield to improve reliability, promote efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
There are currently about 3,500 people working at the airport, for companies such as UPS, Purolator, Cargojet, DHL and Canada Post.
Ron Foxcroft, chairman of Hamilton International Airport’s Board of Directors, says he expects employment to increase another 20 per cent by the time the upgrades are completed.
He describes international trade corridors, such as the airport, as “economic engine drivers for the city.”