Sudbury's sprawling airport could be the home of several new businesses in the coming years if all goes to plan.
According to Greater Sudbury Airport’s CEO Todd Tripp, the abundance of development-ready acreage and its location along Highway 86, north to Skead, make it a prime location.
Not only can they cater to people using the airport, but also to nearby residents.
“Development has always been a priority and remains a priority,” said Tripp. “There's potential to have non-aviation businesses: mining, and businesses helping people in Skead or Garson.”
Tripp said that they are in talks with some companies that would introduce hospitality and service offerings to the airport. A coffee and doughnut shop is probability, and others like a gas station, hotel and car wash have also been discussed.
Overall, Tripp estimates there are 800 acres they could develop with 230 acres of prime land at the end of the main runway – or threshold – that they plan on turning into a commercial development, similar to a business park.
Threshold 30 will have the standard water, sewer, electrical, gas, and internet hookups required by any businesses that want to use the space.
Tripp said that they are currently in negotiations with clients looking at putting in a large facility there that would serve the community.
“It involves flying of aircraft and some ground operations,” said Tripp. “Hopefully it brings some new jobs to the area.”
The airport itself is going strong, according to Tripp, with 228,962 passengers transiting the terminal in 2016, slightly up from 2015.
In early February, they marked the arrival of West Jet to their list of carriers serving Sudbury, along with Air Canada, Bearskin, Porter, and Sunwing.
With West Jet, they've added one flight a day to Toronto Pearson, which will increase to three by May.
They've also made some terminal upgrades in the past year with added counter space, completed back office renovations, renovated the passenger staging area to facilitate flow, and introduced LED lighting that he estimates will help them save 70 per cent on their hydro bill.
They also have two light and electrical upgrade projects up for government funding, which they should hear by mid-April.