Lethbridge Airport is ready for take off following grand opening of new renovations

Following a year of work the Lethbridge Airport is now ready to receive passengers for the busy summer season.

It's wheels up at the Lethbridge airport as the facility held a grand opening following nearly a year of major renovations.

"This is huge for us and I'm super excited to now be able to share it with everyone now that we can all get together," said the airport’s manager, Cameron Prince.

"This is awesome and we can’t wait for everyone to check it out."

Key stakeholders, along with government partners like Mayor Blaine Hyggen, Lethbridge East MLA Nathan Neudorf and Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver, were all in attendance.

Also making an appearance was Premier Jason Kenney, who spoke to what this grand opening means for the region.

"This is a big moment, for this community, for southern Alberta, for the future of the regions economy and I'm so excited to be here to see this day finally arrive."

The renovations cost over $23 million, with $2.6 million coming from the city and the rest coming from federal and provincial grants.

Work included expansions to the terminal and passenger holdroom, the installation of washroom facilities in the holdroom, an upgrade to new modern furniture and an upgrade to parking lot technology.

In addition, there were also upgrades to the pumphouse and water line service and the installation of a new sand storage shed.

The hope is this will help bring in more airlines and open up southern Alberta to the rest of the world.

"We'll keep doing what we can to try and attract more airlines, more routes, and continue to grow and give more back to the community for more places to go," said Prince.

"It’ll help residents to get out of town really, to get somewhere warm to go."

Mayor Hyggen spoke to the Flair Airlines review that's made national news and is confident they'll be moving forward and flying to Tucson once all is said and done.

"We've been told that there's absolutely no doubt that they'll be here and I'll take that information as heard and so we're expecting to be flying out of here starting Dec. 1 and I'm happy to be on that inaugural flight out of Tucson," Hyggen told CTV News.

Flair Airlines had until March 3 to respond to the Canadian Transportation Agency’s concerns over foreign ownership concerns, but it could take weeks or even months to get a decision from the agency.

With the grand opening on Wednesday, all that's left is continued work on pavement rehabilitation, the baggage carousel and airfield lighting, which should be completed by 2023.