Q&A: What are this summer’s Yellowknife Airport upgrades?

Upgrade work is taking place at Yellowknife Airport. But what exactly is happening and what will you, the passenger, get at the end of it?

Here are some answers, based on a telephone interview and follow-up email exchange with Yellowknife Airport spokesperson Kelley Ryder this week.

What’s going on in the departures area?

Workers are updating the security screening system and making some improvements to what the airport calls the “pre-boarding lounge,” i.e. the place you have to loiter in once you’re through security.


“The intention of the improvements is to make a more efficient security screening process,” said Ryder.

We understand this means the hardware and software being used by the new screening system – the physical security scanners installed at the airport – will take less time to process each person, so the line should move faster than it did before the upgrades.

Are we going to get two security lines instead of one?

No, no you are not. “There will be a single security line with enhanced technologies and processes to increase the rate of passenger screening,” is how the airport authority puts it.

So what are these improvements to the “pre-boarding lounge” then?

There’s going to be a bigger zone for food and drinks with a view to offering you a wider range of options. At the moment, the plan is for there still to be one vendor. In other words, that means the Javaroma counter is going to get bigger.

If you make the refreshments area bigger, does that mean fewer seats for passengers?

We asked this question and here’s the answer we got back:


“The total size of the pre-board screening area will increase by about 10 percent as a result of the ongoing renovations. Most of this additional space will be used for the enhanced passenger screening equipment. At this time we do not plan to increase the number of passenger seats.”

From what we can tell, that means the security equipment will need more room and you definitely won’t get any more seats – but the airport didn’t directly say whether there would be fewer seats than before.

When will the work be finished?

“Our objective is to ensure that the enhanced passenger screening process is operational by the time school gets out for the summer, and summer holiday travel begins,” said the airport authority.

In practice, that means the end of June. The aim is for the construction work to be finished by June 28, allowing a few days for the installation of new carpet and a fresh coat of paint before the summer rush ramps up at the start of July.


Work started on May 11.

How much is the work costing?

The total cost is approximately $625,000.