The airport in Saint John, N.B., has been left out of millions of dollars in airport improvement money announced this week around the Maritimes.
The federal and provincial governments are spending more than $24 million on infrastructure upgrades in New Brunswick. Approved airport projects include upgrades to the runway and lighting at Fredericton International Airport and extending a runway at Greater Moncton International Airport by 1,300 metres.
Saint John airport has been in need of similar renovations for some time, but its application for government assistance went unheeded. The $8 million application included enhanced lighting, a larger terminal and a redesigned parking lot.
"It's a bit frustrating to work on projects for several years with both provincial and federal levels and see everyone around you funded except for yourself," said airport president and CEO Bernard LeBlanc.
The federal government said Saint John will be considered for funding as money becomes available, but is giving no indication of when that might be.
"I learned a long time ago you don't put timelines on anything, especially in government," said Keith Ashfield, Member of Parliament for Fredericton and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
LeBlanc said he hopes consideration for Saint John comes soon.
"We are the closest airport to the U.S. border," he said, "so to compete with the U.S. airports and to be put at a disadvantage funding-wise compared to our neighbouring airports, there’s something wrong with that picture."