Months in the making, Dymond group officially buys Stephenville airport
Pending deal was announced in September
Months after the announcement of a businessman's plan to buy Stephenville's airport, a deal has been reached.
Stephenville International Airport has officially been acquired by the Dymond Group of Companies and the Greater N.L. Partnership, according to the airport corporation in a press release Tuesday afternoon.
The agreement was signed Tuesday after a final vote by the airport's board. Dymond revealed his intentions to buy the airport in September, but the deal didn't close by an initial deadline set for December.
Dymond turned down several interviews with CBC News in the months that followed, saying he would speak to the media once the deal closed. CBC News has asked him for an interview.
According to a press release from the Greater N.L. Partnership, a federally registered company directed by Dymond, the deal is a step forward for the airport, the region and province as a whole.
Changes and upgrades to the airport will begin soon, says the release, including a name change for the Stephenville International Airport, which has already been rebranded the Stephenville Dymond International Airport online.
"This province is my home, its values and identity will be pivotal in the daily operations of both the Stephenville Dymond International Airport (SDIA) and GNLP," said Dymond said in the release.
"I look forward to working with my amazing team and industry partners to increase the airport's passenger traffic and build a world-class technological hub for Eastern Canada."
Besides working to restore scheduled passenger service, which has largely been shut down at the airport since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dymond has said he will manufacture massive cargo drones in the region.
He said the deal will create thousands of jobs and inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the community.
Trevor Murphy, chair of the board of directors for the Stephenville Airport Corporation, said the group is pleased to reach an agreement to sell the airport.
"As a board, we hope that this will signal a new beginning for Stephenville airport, the town of Stephenville, and the southwest coast," Murphy said in a press release.
'It's going to be good for this town'
Stephenville Mayor Tom Rose says Tuesday is an exciting day for the region.
"Since Air Canada pulled out, I think it was in 1989, we've struggled in many ways. It was a big piece of infrastructure...but with fortitude and strength and support of council and the community we kept the airport running," Rose told CBC News Tuesday.
"We needed a new company with a new vision, a new game plan, to get the business modelling moving forward so that revenue generation could happen."
Rose said the acquisition brings "economic and financial stability" for the airport, as he's not sure the town would have had enough money to settle the airport's debt had the deal not gone through.
The promise of overhauling the aging terminal and the addition of drone production also paints a promising picture for the future, as Dymond has promised 5,000 additional jobs in the region.
"If it hits 50 per cent of what he talked about, it's going to be good for this town, western Newfoundland and good for Canada."
- A prior version of this story said that the deal to sell the Stephenville airport has officially closed. In fact, Tuesday's announcement involved an agreement to sell, and did not disclose a date for the close.Jun 29, 2022 9:18 AM NT
With files from Troy Turner