Where we started.
In 1932-33, the civil Aviation Branch of the Department of National Defence tried to find a suitable site for an airport in this region. Work began in October 1933, but was stopped in June 1934 when it was decided the location was too expensive to develop. A new site, a mile from the first, was selected and work began in 1936 but due to delays, was not completed until 1939. At that time, the airport consisted of three turf runways, the main one being 4000 ft. (07/25). The Department of Transport (now Transport Canada) officially licensed the airport in 1946. In 1956 runway 07/25 was resurfaced to concrete and was later extended to 6000 ft. in 1978. The turf runways were eventually closed down with the last one being officially closed in 1993.
From 1936 to 1953, a passenger terminal, radio range, weather office, maintenance garage, transmitter site, and employee dwellings were built to house the numerous airport functions and staff. In 1959, a temporary radar control unit was established until its closure in 1993.
The old passenger terminal and flight services operations buildings were constructed in 1967. The terminal was further expanded in 1988 and 1995.
At present, the airport is operated and maintained by the Kenora Airport Authority who officially took ownership of the airport from Transport Canada on March 22, 1996. The Kenora Airport Authority is a 12 member volunteer board made up of concerned citizens from the surrounding area.
The Kenora airport operates on a user pay basis with no federal, provincial or even municipal subsidies. The Flight Service Station is operated by Nav Canada who provides air traffic control (ATC) services and weather observation. The Flight Service Specialists (FSS) assist pilots in the Kenora area providing information about terrain, weather peculiarities, pre-flight, and in-flight weather briefing, flight planning suggested routes, altitude, indication of turbulence, icing, and any other information important to aviation safety. FSS also work closely with other agencies in providing services to Kenora airport for arriving and departing aircraft by the relay of ATC instructions, position reports and initiating and participating in searches for missing or overdue aircraft.
The Kenora Flight Service Station co-ordinates about 10,000 aircraft movements a year; the movements include, private, commercial, and military ranging from ultra-lights to high powered military jets.
Ornge has a hangar on site as well as the Ministry of Natural Resources which co-ordinates forest fires and medical emergencies.
A new six-million dollar terminal is now open since September 2018. The Shell FBO (Fixed-Base Operations) has been torn down to make way for some more apron space. The new FBO has been moved into the new terminal. Bearskins check-in and baggage drop off is now stationed inside as well as any other future air-carriers. Visitors who aren't travelling are still welcomed to look at the new terminal now that it has opened to see what's in store for them when they are ready to fly the skies. We are always looking to enhance our facilities, including the creation of a new business park so we can grow the local economy. If you are interested in being a part of this, please contact us.