Best year ever for Saskatoon Airport Authority
Saskatoon Airport Authority (SAA) saw their best year ever.
The John G. Diefenbaker International Airport set records in passenger traffic, availability of air service connections and aviation activity on airport lands in 2011.
At the annual public meeting held Monday, Nancy Hopkins, chair of the Board of Directors said that more than 1.2 million passengers visited the airport.
"(We are) a global gateway connecting Saskatchewan to the world," said Hopkins.
Last year brought in $21.9 million general and capital revenues. After expenditures there was $3.9 million as profit - largely set aside in a capital fund.
The SAA said that the achievements of last year have set the stage for the next chapter of airport growth. They have started a 10-year $115 million capital investment plan. It included a $53 million expansion to the airport that started this spring.
The expansion largely focuses on customer service beyond the security points. SAA CEO Bill Restall said it will include comfortable seating, food concessions, beverage concessions, retail shops, a business lounge, and a kid's play area.
"We wanted to bring more services to the travelling public, to the passengers. We couldn't do that ... especially on the other side of security," said Restall.
The expansion is expected to take 30 months and will double the size
of the building. Restall explained that there will be some hassle for passengers
"We are taking actually a facility that is tight already and we're making it even smaller during construction. That is the major impact people will see, the congestion," he said.
Restall, who announced today that he will be retiring after 13 years as CEO, said that it will result in the airport borrowing some money. He projects there will be two years where the SAA will acquire debt.
When the expansion is completed the SAA plans to move forward with a parking structure and a privately funded onsite hotel complex.