History & Growth
On April 28, 1941, the history of the airport building was set in stone as construction began on St. John’s first airport terminal. This is something to celebrate in itself, as it made Newfoundland and Labrador more accessible and positioned us as an international player. Over the years, we have enjoyed many successes. From the day the Authority became privately managed in 1998, we have turned a non-profit government organization into a successful private, not-for-profit, business operation.
Our massive re-development project, completed in 2002, reinforced our position as a global player, offering diverse services and bringing pride to our community. It also reinforced our position as a safe and technologically advanced airport for the benefit of our customers, employees and tenants. It has given us the opportunity to capture our spirit and culture in one place. Materials like Bell Island stone and wood reflect our culture and heritage, while the use of new materials such as stainless steel and glass represent our vibrant, new economy.
We continue to reach new heights with unprecedented passenger growth over the last several years. In 2011, we welcomed approximately 1.4 million passengers, having surpassed the one million mark well ahead of expectations. Since 1998, passenger volumes have grown by more than 80%, a growth rate that is twice the national average.
In May 2007, the Airport Authority successfully closed a $55 million private placement bond issue. Moody’s Investors Service assigned an A1 rating to the bond issue, indicating its positive view of the credit strength of St. John’s International Airport Authority. The proceeds of this bond issue are used to finance the current bank debt as well as to fund the Airport Authority’s capital program.
The capital program is designed to improve passenger services and to maintain our operational and environmental integrity. Such completed projects include a new facility to more effectively accommodate the critical de-icing of aircraft during winter operations, a 4th bridge to allow more passengers to board and exit their flights without going outside (a 5th bridge will be added in 2011), an expanded Visitor Information Center (VIC) to reflect our position as the “gateway to the Province”, resurfacing of our secondary runway, and an upgrade of the Airport’s winter operations vehicle fleet.
Major capital projects over the last couple of years have included self service passenger check-in kiosks, TVs in the departures lounge, replacement of the passenger parking lot operating system to include self pay options, and renovations to the Airport’s operations and main terminal building. As we continue to grow as a region, the airport will also continue to make the necessary investments in our infrastructure to manage increased air capacity and facilitate economic growth. Our new developments will be planned in consultation with our partners and stakeholders in the region we serve.