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Hamilton International Airport gets granted clearance for four-stage, $40-million upgrade

Dena Fehir
Hamilton International Airport gets granted clearance for four-stage, $40-million upgrade

John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport (HIA) is in the initial phase of a massive, four-stage infrastructure project, with almost half of it to be funded by the federal government.

The $38.8-million venture recently received $18.54 million from Transport Canada’s National Trade Corridor Fund (NTCF).

“Hamilton is proud to be home to Canada’s fastest growing and largest overnight express cargo airport. On behalf of the City of Hamilton, I would like to thank our federal partners for their contribution towards this exciting restoration project at John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport.

“With this investment, our airport will see hundreds of new jobs created, critical new safety measures implemented and further promotion of talent and services available in Hamilton,” said Fred Eisenberger, Hamilton’s mayor.

The balance of the undertaking will be funded by airport operator TradePort International Corporation as part of its capital investment plan. The phased airfield work strategy is to minimize closures and interruption to the existing 24/7 operations.

The ambitious project will support continued cargo and passenger traffic growth. The four major elements in the investment are:

  • Strengthen the airport’s primary runway — Runway 12-30 is one of Southern Ontario’s longest runways and investment will facilitate current and future heavy freighter traffic. Rehabilitation of instrument landing and low visibility systems will improve overall reliability;
  • Strengthen the airport’s secondary crosswind runway — Investments will be made to improve the efficiency of Runway 06-24, which serves as the alternative approach and departure path for diversion flights during inclement weather;
  • Upgrade taxiways systems — The airfield’s support system of taxiways connecting to the runways will be upgraded to accommodate growing 24/7 aircraft operations;
  • Upgrade airfield lighting — Advanced LED lighting technology will be implemented on the airfield to improve reliability, promote efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Modernization of Hamilton International’s runways, taxiways and lighting systems will ensure longevity

— Cathie Puckering

HIA President


According to HIA’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Dina Carlucci, there was a bidding process for the runway rehabilitation work that is scheduled to begin later this summer and the process is still underway to select the contractor.

“With regards to timelines for the other projects, we’re still in the planning process for those also. These four projects will be completed within the next four years and each will require their own planning process,” said Carlucci.

Collectively, the projects will improve the efficiency, reliability and safety of airport operations and accelerate investment to accommodate the increasing use of larger wide-body aircraft for domestic and long-haul traffic. In 2018, the airport served 725,630 passengers, a year-over-year increase of 21 per cent.

“Modernization of Hamilton International’s runways, taxiways and lighting systems will ensure longevity of this critical infrastructure, and position the airport to continue serving a strategic transportation and trade corridor, and the many businesses who rely on connections to port, train, major route highway and U.S. border routes to access new markets for Canadian imports and exports,” said HIA President and CEO, Cathie Puckering.

“We look forward to completing these critical infrastructure improvements so that Hamilton International can continue to deliver on its vision to be the best global gateway in Canada for affordable travel and goods movement and continue to be a key economic contributor in our region.”

HIA’s latest economic impact study demonstrated that in 2017, the airport generated almost 3,500 jobs in the region (a 25 per cent increase since 2013), labour income of $243 million, a GDP of $385 million and industry activity of $1.2 billion.

Through this upgrade, these airport projects are expected to create more than 350 construction jobs, with an additional 863 full-time jobs to be created over the next five years, representing an additional $149 million in labour income. The airport anticipates that the NTCF’s investment will facilitate approximately $2.1 billion in economic activity annually.

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