The Smithers Regional Airport will be among those who will benefit from the Regional Air Transportation Initiative, which will aid the airport in over $500,000 in grants.

"Regional airports and carriers provide a vital service, providing commercial flight access, supporting critical supply chains and promoting economic growth." the release noted from Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development, "They connect patients to needed medical care and enable essential work travel. They provide important emergency services and cargo operations to supply businesses and frontline workers."


Some of the other communities that will benefit include the airport in Dease Lake, Anahim Lake, Kelowna and Abbotsford.

A total of 18.8 million dollars were given out under the fund, where airports can apply and use the money for upgrades or maintenance to the airport.

"Air transportation is essential to community well-being and regional economic development." Continued Sajjan, "Today's announcement will not only enhance airport safety and support our essential services but will also create jobs that British Columbians can rely on and bolster regional growth as we recover from the effects of the pandemic."

For the Smithers Regional Airport, they say they hope to use the money for a new runway friction computer, which will record the results of the runway and upload it to the internet for better landing results.

Along with the new technology for the landing strip, the airport plans to machinery for maintenance to the grounds and asphalt.

"Because of COVID, we have not been able to have a capital program here for quite a few years." Said Airport Manager Rob Buchan,  "We used to have four commercial flights a day back and forth to Vancouver, and now we're down to one flight, seven days a week."

Some of the upgrades will begin later this year.

CFTK-TV News will have a full report tonight at 5, 6 and 11.