GANDER, N.L. – It was a red letter day for Reg. Wright, the Gander International Airport’s president and CEO.
After years of lobbying, the Gander International Airport Authority and the federal government have partnered for a $10-million upgrade to runway 13/31, the airport’s main landing area.
According to Wright, the lifespan of the runway expired three years ago.
“Touchdown zones, where aircraft land, are showing wear. The bigger issue is the runway apron, where the aircraft park, which was in an advanced state of disrepair, where in a couple of years it could have become a safety concern,” said Wright. “So it’s a great time to get at it.”
While the 50-50 partnership was officially announced in Gander July 11, prep work for the resurfacing started three weeks ago.
To keep the airport’s 30,000 flights per year on track, Wright said, an alternate runway is being used for air traffic.
“We’ve got a 10,200-foot runway that is fully operational right now, and we haven’t seen any disruptions thus far,” he said.
Once completed, in the early fall, a total of 266,668 square meters of asphalt will have been replaced.
From a political perspective, Coast of Bays – Central – Notre Dame MP Scott Simms sees the resurfacing as an investment in central Newfoundland.
Aside from the 100 construction jobs, Simms says an upgraded runway can support economic activity and the physical movement of goods and people.
“The Gander International Airport is an important economic generator for our province,” said Simms. “Upgrading its critical infrastructure will ensure it keeps serving not only our local community, but as we have witnessed, the international community, for generations to come.”
Gander Mayor Percy Farwell was pleased to see the investment come to fruition as well.
“This airport is such a critical piece of infrastructure in this region,” said Farwell. “This airport continues to be a lifeboat for the North Atlantic, their carriers certainly depend on that, so we’re delighted to see this develop.”