nl-map-corner-brook-20100311

The airport in Stephenville has been struggling financially for several years. ((CBC))

A small, cash-strapped airport in western Newfoundland has been given a reprieve, thanks to some government support.

Stephenville Airport, which has been struggling for several years, can now borrow as much as $600,000 through a line of credit, thanks to a loan guarantee from the Newfoundland and Labrador government.

Shawn Tilley, who chairs the airport corporation's board, said the new financing will help cover its expenses.

The non-profit airport board is in the midst of negotiations with Tennessee-based KAZ Aviation, which is interested in taking over the airport's operations.

"Not having to worry about our abilities to make payroll and such takes a lot of pressure off us as a group, in terms of the airport board, the Stephenville Airport management team and the employees," Tilley said.

"So it gives us some breathing room, basically, to make sure this deal with KAZ Aviation is done properly and that it does happen."

However, the provincial government has told the airport that it will not be extending further assistance.

Stephenville Airport has had troubles maintaining business with domestic carriers, although management feels its large landing strip — a legacy from a former U.S. Air Force base — makes it attractive as a refuelling stop for private flights.