Abbotsford airport planning terminal expansion

Increased traffic expected is fuelling plans for multi-million redesign of YXX terminal

Abbotsford International Airport may see an expansion to its terminal soon.

Abbotsford International Airport may see an expansion to its terminal soon.

A major expansion of the terminal building at Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) could be on its way to accommodate increasing numbers of passengers.

Airport staff have begun planning for a $5 million to $6 million project that would increase the capacity of the terminal, according to a report for the Abbotsford Airport Authority.

General manager Parm Sidhu told The News that a recommendation for council will likely be ready by the fall.

Sidhu said the improvements are necessary as the airport comes off its busiest year ever and expects even more passengers in 2017.

“We’re seeing significant growth ahead in 2017,” he said. “Our Christmas peak days will become the norm.”

Sidhu said the expansion would look to increase seating, bridge a gap between the customs area and terminal building, and generally increase the ability for the building to handle more passengers during those times when three or four planes are arriving or departing at the same time.

The money for the project would come out of the airport’s capital reserves, which currently stands at just less than $16 million.

The airport is also considering cutting the $5 airport improvement fee (AIF) currently levied on passengers flying out of YXX to destinations outside of B.C. Instead, airlines will pay landing and general terminal fees.

“The original intent of the AIF was that it was a temporary fee imposed on passengers,” the report states. “With abundant reserves on hand, as well as a solid revenue stream, there is little justification to continue to collect the fee.”