Airport lands federal funds for taxiway rebuild – The London Free Press

London International Airport is getting $3.3 million in federal money to rebuild its aging main taxiway.

Mary Ng, the newly appointed federal minister of small business and export promotion, announced the funding Wednesday at the airport.

The $3.3 million will be drawn from a federal transportation infrastructure fund and will pay for about half the cost of the project. It is expected to create about 65 construction jobs.

Airport CEO Mike Seabrook said the current taxiway is about 40 years old and needs to be replaced.

(l-r) City councillor Michael van Holst, Airport CEO Mike Seabrook, Acting mayor Harold Usher, federal minister Mary Ng and London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos discuss funding for new taxiway at London International Airport which was announced Wednesday. (HANK DANISEWSKI, The London Free Press)

The project will not enlarge the taxiway or enhance capacity but will improve safety and reduce maintenance costs, he said.

“There are new standards in design and construction that will be built in. As asphalt breaks up it creates debris and we can’t have that on a taxiway.”

Taxiways are used to manoeuvre aircraft on the ground in comparison to runways that are used for takeoffs and landings.

Seabrook said design and engineering will begin later this year and construction will begin early in 2019.

The work will be done in stages to avoid any disruption to flight operations, he said.

Seabrook said the investments in infrastructure are needed as the airport gradually handles more traffic.

He said passenger traffic is up about seven per cent this year and he expects the airport will handle about 560,00 passengers in 2018, up from 520,000 last year.

Seabrook said other sectors such as cargo, corporate and flight training traffic also have increased this year.

The increasing congestion at Pearson International Airport Toronto is helping to boost the potential for regional airports such as London to pick up more traffic, he said.