New terminal building at Kenora airport could attract more flights, official says

A multi-million dollar upgrade to the airport in Kenora, Ont., will provide passengers with more modern amenities and, perhaps, open the northwestern Ontario city to more travel options.

Airport manager says he hopes to add routes between Kenora, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay and the U.S.

From left to right, Stefan Robinson, Business Development Intern with the Kenora Airport Authority, Don McDougall, Chair of the Kenora Airport Board and Mike Zroback, Airport Manager inside the new terminal building. (Jeff Walters / CBC)

A multi-million dollar upgrade to the airport in Kenora, Ont., will provide passengers with more modern amenities and, perhaps, open the northwestern Ontario city to more travel options.

"A lot of local residents drive to Winnipeg, if we could link up something to Winnipeg and Kenora, the States and even Thunder Bay ... that's definitely what we're trying to pursue," said Michael Zroback, the manager of the airport.

"This is night and day, this is a huge, huge upgrade for us."

The $6.2 million upgrades effectively take three airport facilities that have been housed in separate buildings for decades — the terminal, the customs building and the fuel services area — and combine them into one modern facility.

The new terminal itself is also twice the size of the old one, which makes it possible for more airlines to service the Kenora airport.

"If we want to move forward as an airport, we had to build a facility to accommodate that," he continued. "Our current terminal building is way too small, we can't possibly get new airlines."

The existing terminal was built in 1939.
$6.2 million in upgrades to the Kenora, Ont., airport include a modern terminal building. (Jeff Walters / CBC)

Putting all the services under one roof will also make operations more efficient, according to Stefan Robinson, the business development intern at the airport, adding that the updated look should also appeal to travellers.

"As a customer, if I was a passenger coming in here, having it all in one place makes it a lot easier and less [stressful]," he said. "When you come in here, the wooden architecture really has the culture of the Lake of the Woods and it brings so much more feeling."

"It's the last place you leave and it's the first place you enter."

"It makes it a lot better from a work standpoint," airport board chair Don McDougall said. "Everything is in one location and it's better for serving the public."

The airport also recently upgraded its runway lighting, at a cost of $1.5 million.