The airport broke ground last week on a $15-million project to expand the terminal by about 60 per cent. Image submitted

Editorial: Airport terminal expansion could have spin-offs

Terminal expansion at Nanaimo Airport has potential to make real change to how people travel

Terminal expansion at Nanaimo Airport won’t just be shiny and new – it has potential to make real change to how people travel to and from the Island.

The airport broke ground last week on a $15-million project to expand the terminal by about 60 per cent, while modernizing and refreshing the facility.

The airport board says it’s looking to the future with these upgrades. It compares the project to the airport runway expansion several years ago – something that, strictly speaking, might not have been necessary at the time, but built capacity.

The Nanaimo Airport believes it has a lot of potential to grow, and so do we. It sure seems like everyone is pressed for time these days and if air travel is a convenient and pleasant experience for travellers and saves them from driving to Comox or Victoria airports, that’s a win for Nanaimo.

We would hope that an upgraded terminal could make it attractive for more carriers to fly in and out of Nanaimo more often; market competition could mean some benefits as far as air fares.

We also suspect that if terminal expansion has the desired effect, it could start to necessitate better transportation options back and forth from the airport. Not only would that better accommodate air travellers, it could have positive impacts to public transportation in the south end.

We get that there are affordability concerns for people in our community, and taking a plane to Vancouver isn’t a travel option for everybody. But a lot of people who do business in the Harbour City are landing at Nanaimo Airport and it’s in Nanaimo’s interests to be a welcoming place to do business.

The Hub City, if you will, is made up of a few hubs, the airport being an important one.

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