Sioux Lookout Airport staff are laying the groundwork for a new and improved facility to meet potential opportunities on the horizon.
With terminal building renovations in the works, the Sioux Lookout Municipal Airport is focusing on the business planning, development and marketing of the airport and its adjacent lands.
Sioux Lookout is located halfway between Winnipeg and Thunder Bay.
Known as the Hub of the North, the community of 5,500 is a regional service centre and is the jumping-off point connecting 29 fly-in Cree and Ojibway communities.
"Our First Nations are very active in the business world and in partnerships," said airport manager Ben Hancharuk. "They're continuing to grow their communities."
As such, the airport is consistently one of Canada's busiest with more than 30,000 aircraft movements in 2013 and in excess of 122,000 passengers.
The expansion of medical services, mainly from the 2010 opening of the Meno-Ya-Win Health Centre, growing mineral exploration and business travel are expected to boost passenger numbers even higher.
The airport is also a major employer with more than 100 people working for both the public and private sectors.
Scheduled air service is provided by Bearskin and Wasaya Airlines with charter service from Northern Skies, Skycare and Bamaji Air plus flow-through carriers such as Thunder Airlines, Superior Airways, Air Bravo, North Star and Walsten Air.
The airport has 10 existing airside tenants including ORNGE and Nishnawbe Aski Police Service.
A 1,590-metre (5,300-foot) runway connects to two massive aprons that can easily accommodate parking for large aircraft and potential space for hangars for new tenants.
The airport has a subdivision plan for 44,520 square metres of fully-serviced and flexible lot space with both airside and groundside access. Although Sioux Lookout is west of the Ring of Fire mineral projects, the potential to assist in its development exists along with a handful of area mineral exploration plays that are continually closing in on becoming operating mines.
If that opportunity arises, municipal officials are prepared...