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Lethbridge Airport review suggests major changes

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge committee hears operational review and suggestions for airport' Lethbridge committee hears operational review and suggestions for airport
WATCH ABOVE: An operational review of the Lethbridge airport has been released. It includes some major suggestions for development of the surrounding land as well as renovations to the existing facility. Emily Olsen reports – Feb 3, 2020

An operational review of the Lethbridge Airport has been released in a presentation to the community issues committee on Monday.

The report includes some major suggestions for development of the surrounding land as well as renovations to the existing facility.

“We want to stabilize things for the airport and make sure it’s there for a long, long time,” said Michael Kelly, manager of real estate and land development with the City of Lethbridge.

Most pressing is the runway space, which is in dire need of new airport ground lighting – or AGL.

“That system is 40 to 50 years old,” said Curtis Grad, a consultant from Modalis Infrastructure Partners. “A lot of the parts are hard to come by.”

READ MORE: Ownership of Lethbridge airport to be transferred from county to city

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The existing H-Vac and electrical systems are also in need of upgrades.

Management and staff need review and the report suggests that more support staff will need to be hired.

The report also says renovations to washrooms and waiting areas are top-of-mind for creating a better passenger and airline experience.

Officials say the 900 acres of surrounding land is being looked at for development and businesses could have a chance to bid for the lease or leases available.

“Then it’s about building traffic and finding other opportunities on the airport to grow and develop business and revenue, not just for city operations but for the community as well,” Grad said.

READ MORE: Airport traffic in Lethbridge on the rise

While other comparably sized airports have faced closures in recent years, officials say the Lethbridge Airport is likely to hang on for years to come.

“Here, you’ve got a more balanced approach and you can grow it organically,” Grad said.

“Where I think, in some of these other smaller airports that are more seasonal, they can’t afford to even take advantage of the opportunity because they can’t scale up and scale down every six months.”

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The review is expected to be updated with more specific dollar and time figures before it is presented to city council sometime in the next month.

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