The official opening of the airport’s expansion was marked by speeches and the cutting of a ribbon on Friday morning.
“When you come to this airport, the first thing you’re going to walk into is this terminal. And what an impression it will make,” said Yukon Senator Dan Lang.
The 2,767 square metre wing features glass walls that bathe the new baggage carousel area with sunlight.
It can handle twice the number of passengers it could a year ago, said Lang.
Although it cost the territory $11 million, the expansion “will help Yukon realize its full economic potential” by encouraging national and international tourism, said Archie Lang, minister of community services.
An additional $5 million was funded by Ottawa.
The Department of Tourism and Culture has budgeted about $150,000 to provide cultural displays for the airport, and an additional $20,000 will support commissioned artwork from Kwanlin Dun.
“Not only does the expansion meet the security requirements of both Canada and the United States, it also provides a welcoming environment to those air carriers servicing the Yukon today,” said Elaine Taylor, minister of Tourism and Culture. “But it also provides travellers with that extra comfort and that pleasant welcoming experience.”
The expansion includes an in-transit lounge for 230 people, space for customs offices, a larger luggage carousel, an elevator and more space for airport staff.
These changes come 90 years after the first planes, US Army Air Service DH-4B biplanes, landed in Yukon, and 25 years after the Whitehorse Airport built its first passenger terminal.
“I recall, in the late 50s when quite a number of us were a lot younger, coming to the airport and the hangar would be quite cold and had very little amenities, but we were satisfied with that because we were quite pleased to at least have an airport,” said Dan Lang.
These changes will give tourists a taste of what Yukon has to offer, he said.
“They’re going to realize that they’re in a part of Canada that not only has the wilderness and all the other attributes that we have as a community and as a territory, but they realize that we’re modern and in the 21st Century.”
Contact Larissa Robyn Johnston at email@example.com.