In late June, Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA) broke ground on a new 96,000 square foot Ground Services Equipment (GSE) facility. The C$27 million multi-use building will offer ground handling and cargo companies secure access to airside operations
The GSE to be housed in the new facility is likely to include tugs, belt loaders and refrigeration trucks, amongst others, WAA confirms. And, once completed, current tenants in the cargo campus will relocate to the new GSE building, freeing up much-needed space in the cargo area for redevelopment.
“WAA continues to redevelop our airport to meet the needs of travellers, airlines and tenants,” remarks Barry Rempel, president and CEO of WAA, adding that the groundbreaking represents “another stage of development for the airport campus, allowing us to make better use of our space to serve current tenants, attract new tenants and to continue to create jobs and drive the economy”.
Rempel continues: “The world is more and more connected every day, and for Winnipeg to fulfil its potential on the global stage we must have the infrastructure in place to compete. [This] investment is another step in realising the vision of Winnipeg as an airport city.”
Speaking to Airside, Rempel recalls the thinking behind the need for the new GSE building, and how the project got off the ground. “We had recognised the potential benefit of this facility for our airline partners over the years, even prior to the opening of the current air terminal building.
“Direct planning for this specific facility has been in the works for approximately three years, the importance of which truly came to the fore because of changes to the critical restricted area at the airport. The changes resulted in a number of our tenants being located outside the critical restricted area, making operations that include the need to exit and re-enter the area move across revised security check points multiple times a day.
“The new space moves tenants closer to where they work, and inside the critical restricted area. The net result is greater land utilisation and better efficiencies for tenants.”
He also notes: “The other win for WAA and the community we serve is with the relocation of our carrier tenant ground facilities to the GSE building – it opens up much-needed space for redevelopment in our current cargo campus.
“Winnipeg Richardson International Airport is a cargo hub, and the continuation of that growth is impacted by the lack of available space in our cargo campus. Moving current tenants to the GSE building will have the domino effect of opening up space where there is high demand.”
The GSE building will have a total footprint of 96,175 square feet, with a leasable area of 80,000 square feet. It is to be leased to seven tenants including WAA, Air Canada, Gate Gourmet, Swissport and ATS. Rempel confirms that the facility is expected to be finished and ready for use by October next year.
WAA also has other plans to expand the facilities it has available for ground handlers and their equipment, Rempel points out. “This project is the first step in a more substantial redevelopment at the airport,” he says. “Existing tenants are looking to expand, and new tenants are interested in locating operations at the airport, so we are ensuring we have the right space to meet their needs.
“For WAA it is about continually improving, to be able to ensure we are developing our facilities to their highest and best use. The GSE building is the first step in a larger plan to continue to grow our airport as an economic engine for our region.
“Winnipeg Richardson International Airport is Canada’s busiest airport for air cargo freighter flights. This C$27 million investment by Winnipeg Airports Authority is the manifestation of WAA’s commitment to our community and to enable its continued growth and development,” he concludes.