Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) has announced that the first phase of a $19.4m terminal expansion project has begun at the Victoria International Airport (YYJ) in Canada.

The project involves expansion of the lower departure lounge to cater to passenger growth and use of larger-capacity aircraft in current markets.

During phase one, the project will add 1,765m² to the lower departure lounge, featuring a 500-passenger capacity. It also includes aircraft gates, covered walkways, food outlets, along with seating and accessibility considerations.

Victoria Airport authority president and CEO Geoff Dickson said: “This is really exciting for us and we look forward to sharing a fresh new space with our travellers. Ensuring we meet demand and provide an exceptional passenger experience, while improving operational efficiencies for our air carriers is a key focus.”

The project’s second phase will commence immediately to renew the existing space, construct washroom facilities and also boost retail and public art.

Meanwhile, the third phase will focus on food and beverage. Dickson notes that completion of the expansion will take place next year.

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The design team for the project is being led by the Offices of McFarlane Biggar (OMB) Architects, while Durwest Construction Management (DCM) is responsible for management.

Victoria International Airport records more than two million passengers annually, with more than 100 daily flights across North America.

VAA originally announced the plans for departure lounge expansion at the airport in February last year. The investment for the project will take place over 27 months.