The Fort McMurray Airport is open for business again.
The facility resumed commercial air service this morning and welcomed its first flight, an Air Canada service, at 9:10.
CEO and President of the Airport Authority Scott Clements says while a few structures on the north side were affected by the fire, the new facility was saved.
“There’s a lot of work that went into keeping the terminal safe through that whole period. The airport has been open and operating 24 hours a day, obviously supporting the firefighting operation, which has been extensive,” says Clements.
He says before the new terminal was built, more than 425 acres of forest just south of the terminal had been removed, leaving a swamp.
Clements believes that contributed to saving the airport since during the fire, the swamp just smouldered.
As for what the airport lost, Clements is optimistic.
“We did lose some structures on the airport, on the north side, but they’re things that can be rebuilt and it didn’t affect any of the essential operational activities on the airfield,” says Clements.
He says the airport’s revenue for the month of May is zero, where it would normally be above $3 million.
“As we go forward over the next few months, obviously with traffic coming back, the revenues will climb again, but we do have fairly robust business interruption insurance and we’re dealing, very successfully so far, with a couple million dollars advance,” says Clements.
Clements also had praise for VP of Operations Bill Werny, who took command during the evacuation period. He says Werny oversaw about 10 people, including the airport’s firefighters, and kept the terminal safe and operating.