The City and the Region itself is experiencing a tremendous amount of interest of an industrial nature. With the Northwest Transportation Corridor continuing to be chosen as the preferred gateway to North America, the airport is in a position to contribute to the economic development of the area. With this opportunity comes the potential for heavy traffic through the airport. This translates into increased use of the airfields, the terminal and the access road.
The Prince Rupert Airport Authority recognizes that its facilities are aged and in need of renovation both to accommodate the projected growth and to bring the facilities back into safe working order.
The asphalt surfaces at the airstrip were overlaid in 1998. They have failed and the Airport Authority has received emergency funding for band aid repairs since 2009. Three national engineering firms have examined the airfield asphalt surfaces (taxi way, apron and runway) and have condemned them. This makes the asphalt surfaces at the airfield the top priority.
The airport access road from the Digby ferry terminal to the airport is in need of repair as well. The last time this 5km of road was paved (aside from patching) was in the late 1970s. It would be cost effective due to economies of scale to pave this roadway at the same time as crews are paving the airfield surfaces since the machinery and operations staff will be on Digby already.
The airport terminal building is now 52 years old and has had limited maintenance throughout. Due to its age and minimum maintenance, the mechanical systems and building envelope have failed. The only major capital project that has been undertaken was the upgrades to the foyer. The changes to the security area were required by Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and funded by Transport Canada.
The airport has experienced passenger growth over the past 2 years of 2% per year and so far in 2013 are averaging 5%. Projections over the next 5 years are expected to be 5%, 6%, 12% and then holding at an average of 8%. If the major industrial projects currently in the Environmental Assessment phase come to fruition, the airport will see a large spike in passengers to accommodate the construction crews expected. The airport building as it is now is not capable of handling existing traffic making it inadequate to handle the projections.