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Airport lounge a welcome addition

Can seat 118 people

With the capacity to hold 118 people, the newly-completed departure lounge at the Smithers Regional Airport is more than just a comfortable place for passengers waiting to board their flights, officials said at an Aug. 27 official opening.

It now means passengers from more than one aircraft preparing for departure can be accommodated as well as being able to handle larger passenger capacity aircraft.

“The new space is inspiring, comfortable and efficient, and we are confident it will serve our community well for many years to come,” said Smithers mayor Taylor Bachrach.

The new departure area includes new fully accessible washrooms in the departure lounge and the project is part of the larger modernization project now underway.

Further improvements include upgrades to the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and fire suppression systems as well as an energy efficient geothermal heating and cooling system. The completed project is expected to reduce green house gas emissions by 53 per cent, energy use by 39 per cent and energy costs by 31 per cent compared to conventional construction, indicates information provided.

Reconfigurations in the terminal have created more efficient and safer passenger movement by rearranging the check-in, baggage claim, baggage handling and security areas. The interior and the exterior of the terminal are being updated to complement the new addition.

“The Regional District of Bulkley Nechako was happy to support the project, one that focuses on improving the experience for people traveling in our area,” regional district Area A director Mark Fisher of the project.

The project is being financed by the Town of Smithers with contributions from the Government of Canada in partnership with UBCM, the provincial BC Air Access Program, Northern Development Initiative Trust and the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako.