The Edmonton International Airport has opened its new Central Hall offering passengers more places to eat or shop while waiting for departure. 

"We know people are spending more time at the airport," said EIA president and CEO Reg Milley. "There's longer dwell times, the airlines are asking you to come earlier to the airport."

The hall, located just beyond the security screening, contains 12 food outlets and stores with storefronts designed to reflect the look of Edmonton's Whyte Avenue in Old Strathcona.

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Airport passenger Ivy Wong praised the hall as comtemporary and spacious. (CBC)

"I think it's beautiful," said passenger Ivy Wong, who flies out of Edmonton once a month. "It has a contemporary feel — nice and spacious.

"You can do your Christmas shopping while you're waiting," she said.

"It's about time," said Luc Boulianne on his way to Montreal. "It's really nice. It's airy and lots of room."

Passengers can shop at stores including Artizan, iStore, Mexx, Kids Works, Tech on the Go, Indigospirit, Hudson News or Sunglass Hut, or grab a bite at Houston Steak & Ribs, Brioche Doréeor, Booster Juice or Starbucks.

The hall also includes a large lobby with more seating and an observation deck with an expansive view of the airfield.

The airport estimates the retailers will employ 400 people.

The next step for the airport comes in February when the U.S. departures lounge and customs facility opens.