Northern Development approves $125,000 for Smithers Airport Terminal Expansion

Tuesday March 21, 2017 

The Smithers Airport Terminal Modernization Project has gotten another boost in funding thanks to the commitment of $125,000 from Northern Development Initiative Trust.


Northern Development’s board of directors approved the funding for the $8 million project through the Trust’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure program. The program specifically targets projects that significantly strengthen the local economy, that drive revenue and job creation through a major capital investment and provide a long-term asset for the community.

The Terminal Modernization Project responds to studies, historical data and future projections that indicate that the terminal is no longer operationally effective.

The existing terminal is 50 years old and operating well beyond capacity. The check-in, security, baggage handling, holding room, passenger queuing and cargo storage areas are all at least 50% smaller than recommended standards.

Additionally, the airport is losing potential revenue as a result of having to divert larger planes to nearby facilities. Even though the runways can accommodate them, the terminal cannot accommodate aircraft with more than 54 seats due to the small size of the passenger holding area.

#1 Expansion Room-edit

The modernization project will address ongoing deficiencies and resolve safety issues to more effectively accommodate current users and support future growth. Some of the recommendations that will be implemented as part of the project include:

  • The addition of approximately 6,000 square feet of building space.
  • Increasing passenger holding room seats from 54 to 125.
  • Increasing the size and efficiency of the check in and baggage handling areas.
  • Upgrading the fire suppression, fire alarm and electrical systems.
  • Updating the boiler and HVAC systems to include energy efficient geothermal options.
  • Installing a heating and cooling air supply system for the terminal.
  • The upgrades will ensure that the Smithers Airport is a lasting capital asset for the community and surrounding region.

There are no plans to include property taxes or raise Airport Improvement Fees to help pay for the project. Other funding sources for the project include:

  • $4,000,000 from the Federal Gas Tax Grant
  • $3,000,000 from the Airport’s Capital Infrastructure Reserve
  • $400,000 from the Regional District of Bulkey-Nechako
  • $645,000 from other grants and the town’s Airport Infrastructure Reserve.


Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust

Northern Development is pleased to be a partner in the modernization of the Smithers Regional Airport. The additional capacity and opportunity for future growth helps the community retain a key capital asset for the economic growth of the entire region for years to come.

Taylor Bachrach, mayor, Town of Smithers

The Smithers Regional Airport is undoubtedly one of the Bulkley Valley’s most important economic development assets. Our terminal modernization project will improve the efficiency and comfort of the facility, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and position our airport for future growth. We appreciate Northern Development’s support in making this project a reality.

Shirley Bond, MLA Prince George-Valemount

These improvements will help modernize the Smithers Airport and allow for further economic growth in the North. With the increased baggage and waiting areas, the airport will have the opportunity to expand its services allowing for an increase in potential passenger traffic.

About Northern Development Initiative Trust

Northern Development Initiative Trust combines funding with smart thinking to help Northern British Columbia thrive. The Trust was created for the north and is led by the north. Since 2005, Northern Development has found 2,400 ways to say “yes” to economic diversification in our region, attracting more than $1.3 billion in new investment to the region.

About the Smithers Regional Airport

The Smithers Regional Airport is located just 5 km north of the Town of Smithers. It is part of a regional air system that links domestic and international services. It is also the furthest north registered airport with scheduled commercial passenger and chartered flights, servicing nearly 83,000 passengers each year. The Smithers Airport is strategically located with proximity to regional markets and unique airside, road and rail links.


Kim Hayhurst 
Director, Marketing and Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust

Rob Blackburn
Smithers Regional Airport