The Deer Lake Airport dates back to 1953 when, as a joint venture between the Town of Deer Lake and the Bowater Organization, a site survey was completed by the Department of Transport just east of the town in an area known as Junction Brook, located between the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) and the Humber River.
Preliminary construction began in 1954 and by the Fall of 1955, a 4,000 foot gravel strip became operational. The gravel strip was lengthened to 5,000 feet in 1959, paved in 1963 and extended to 6,000 feet in 1973. The runway was resurfaced in 1978. Eastern Provincial Airways commenced scheduled service in 1956 using Lockheed 10A aircraft and in July 1969, jet service was inaugurated using Boeing 737 aircraft.
The original terminal building was constructed in 1963 and was enlarged in 1975, 1980 and 1986. In September 1989, a decision was made to construct a new terminal building to provide the capacity for future traffic levels and to improve service levels for the traveling public. The original terminal building was officially opened July 19, 1991.
In February, 2004, the Board of Directors commissioned a facility analysis study by Sypher:Mueller in response to the steady increase in passenger traffic and the need to improve the facilities and services to meet the operational requirements of the traveling public. This study served as the basis to initiate discussions with John Hearn Architect to develop a terminal building conceptual design that would accommodate the current and future peak hour traffic levels for both domestic and international service. The Board of Directors unanimously supported a motion to proceed with the self-financed expansion and renovation project on October 27, 2004. Construction, to more than double the existing building footprint to 49,700 square feet, commenced on October 3, 2005 at a cost of approximately $12 million.
The new terminal building, which officially opened on June 21, 2007 features a new dedicated international arrivals area complete with state-of-the-art Customs and Immigration facilities and a new domestic arrivals area with two new baggage conveyors. Five (5) new spacious car rental counters and a new ground transportation kiosk have also been added to the arrivals area.
The new departures area has been reconfigured with two (2) new pre-board screening lanes and a new 250 seat departure lounge with three (3) new departure gates capable of accommodating eight (8) airlines.
A new television lounge, a new gift shop, and an internet café style area complement the new expansion. The existing facility has been completely refurbished with new lighting, furnishings and finishes to match the new construction.
In addition to the terminal building renovations and expansion project, the airport constructed a new 530 space long term car parking area and enhanced the short term and rental car parking facilities at a cost of approximately one million dollars.
In 2008, the airport also completed a $1.4 million apron expansion and taxiway improvement project.
The airport reached another milestone on September 24, 2010 with the opening of the new $9.5 million runway extension. The expanded runway is now published at 8,005 feet long and includes a new Instrument Landing System (ILS), new High Intensity Approach Lighting, new PAPI’s and new runway edge lighting.
The new modern facilities at Deer Lake Regional Airport will serve to enhance the customer experience, improve operations and provide opportunities that will facilitate economic activity for the entire region well into the future.