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A closer look at Sioux Lookout Municipal Airport: The hub of the north

Local airport serves as a major transfer point between southern and northern communities

Located approximately 400 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay and 450 kilometres east of Winnipeg, Sioux Lookout (Hudson) Airport started its operation in 1933 and was surprisingly coined the second busiest airport in North America next to Chicago. Today, “The Hub of the North” now facilitates travel on a 24-hour basis to and from all northern communities in Northwestern Ontario, averaging 30,000 movements annually. It serves as a regional centre that provides services and goods to the surrounding region and to 29 remote First Nations communities. It also serves as a hub for patients from the local Meno-Ya-Win Health Centre.

Because of its valuable services to the northern communities, the airport acts as a major transfer point between the southern and northern communities. Its main objective is to enhance the airport’s role within the community as an economic catalyst while achieving a high level of excellence in its operation as a safe and secure facility.

The original single-story air terminal building (ATB) was constructed in 1982. To accommodate the annual passenger traffic of approximately 55,000, the building saw an expansion in 1985. Since then, annual passenger traffic has grown to approximately 123,000 of which 80 per cent is business and medical-related, 70 per cent originating from Sioux Lookout and the remaining 30 per cent being connections from other airports.

The existing terminal building was experiencing constraints and capacity shortfalls, which prompted a discussion to build an expansion of approximately 1000m2 to meet current and projected passenger demands. The plans would include a renovation of the existing building as well as adding an expansion to double its size. 

The expansion was completed in 2018 with the new design helping to alleviate congested passenger queuing lines and adding concession food court tables to address lack of seating. The project also improved accessibility and passengers’ overall travel experience. On the operational side, the expansion also provides airlines with proper baggage make-up areas and more adequate spaces for expanded services. With the new design, the airport is now able to meet its current needs and provide growth opportunities to both current and potential new tenants. 

A certified aerodrome, The Sioux Lookout Airport also serves as a base for Ornge, Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service, private aircraft owners and many charters from both Canada and the United States. The airport is currently served by three primary scheduled air carriers – Perimeter Aviation, Wasaya Airways and North Star Air but is easily accessible with connecting flights to carriers including, but not limited to, Air Canada, WestJet, United Airlines and Delta Airlines.

To learn more, visit The Sioux Lookout Municipal Airport’s website or call 807.737.2829.