Thunder Bay Airport Celebrating Twenty Year Anniversary

A rare quiet moment at the Thunder Bay International Airport.
A rare quiet moment at the Thunder Bay International Airport.
A rare quiet moment at the Thunder Bay International Airport.
A rare quiet moment at the Thunder Bay International Airport.

THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – The Thunder Bay International Airport is a transportation and business hub in our community. It is also a transportation link to northern communities where health, food, mail, and people all rely on safe and reliable air travel. The Airport has become, in many ways, as important an economic driver in our community as the Port of Thunder Bay.

On July 10th, the TBIAA is celebrating twenty years since moving into the new terminal building.

Shortly after, the Airport was transferred to local control with the Thunder Bay International Airports Authority Inc. in 1997; a move designed to capitalize on the Airport’s potential. The Authority’s Board quickly recognized the importance of the Airport to the local and regional economies and set about making sure the Airport was both financially self-sufficient, and an economic enabler.

Porter Airlines is growing again. Flights to sunny places are part of the Porter plan.
Porter Airlines is an important part of the growth for Thunder Bay’s Airport.

Activity has grown exponentially since those two milestones.

Passenger volumes have increased from 456,000 that year, to almost 780,000 in 2013. The Authority also has three subsidiary companies selling airport-related technology and expertise across Canada, the US, Caribbean and overseas.

The economic impact of the Airport has grown as well. An economic impact study completed in the nineties placed the total economic impact at $156 million. The most recent study, completed in 2011, calculated that the impact had more than tripled to $569 million. Total employment has similarly risen from 1,548 to 4,986 full-time equivalent jobs.

TBIAA is the private non-shareholder corporation responsible for the operation of the Thunder Bay International Airport.

TBIAA receives no government funding for the operation of the Airport.

Thunder Bay’s airport remains the only National airport with no passenger fee a savings of $20-$30 for each passenger.

To accommodate this growth, the Airport Authority and numerous partner companies have continued to invest in the Airport, providing Thunder Bay with quality service and growth opportunities.

Extensive expansion of the physical infrastructure included almost every part of the Airport:

  • Extension of Runway 07- 25 and rehabilitation of Apron 6
  • Upgrades to LED and energy efficient lighting in the terminal building and airfield
  • Several expansions and upgrades of the parking lot system, including road system redesign
  • Addition of 3rd passenger boarding bridge
  • Complete signage & wayfinding review

Development of a new commercial subdivision that is now home to:

Infrastructure development has been strongly supported by our business partners:

  • Cargo Facility & Esso Avitat
  • Maintair/Shell AeroCentre
  • Skypower 9MW Solar Farm
  • Wisk-Air Helicopters hangar expansion
  • Air Bravo hangar
  • Activation Laboratories facility development
  • Thunder Bay Aviation hangar
  • Wasaya expansion and construction of new hangar
  • Annual winter charter service directly to as many as three unique sun destinations.

Reaching the North

The Thunder Bay Airport is a vital link to Northern Ontario. Bearskin Air, Wasaya Airlines, North Star Air and Cargo North, along with Thunder Air are all reaching northward providing vital connections to northern communities.

Cargo North recently added a new BT-67 to the fleet.

Cargo North Basler BT-67 at the Thunder Bay International Airport
Cargo North Basler BT-67 at the Thunder Bay International Airport

The growing importance of mining in the north, including the Ring of Fire is going to demand reliable air transportation.

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