Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
August 27, 2019 

Gander International Airport Authority Plans to Rejuvenate International Lounge Space

Gander International Airport Authority today announced plans to restore its historic international lounge with support from the Provincial and Federal Governments.

The $1.5 million project focuses on the preservation, restoration and adaptive reuse of the space, which is widely regarded as the best-preserved modernist room in Canada with an historic legacy spanning multiple wars and what is widely considered to be the golden age of aviation. The aesthetic of the international lounge will be broadly maintained and new elements will be introduced to create a compelling visitor experience.

Funding is being split equally with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and Gander Airport International Airport Authority each contributing $500,000 towards the project.

The airport authority will renovate approximately 9,000 square feet of surplus space for an historic theatre, gallery and room for heritage preservation and also plans to introduce interpretive storytelling elements to profile the airport’s history. The renovations will include restoration of some of the airport lounge’s original furniture, decor and artifacts.

The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, along with Scott Simms, Member of Parliament for Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA, made the announcement today. Joining Minister Mitchelmore and MP Simms for the announcement was the Honourable John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services and MHA for Gander.

Opened in 1959 with the blessing of Queen Elizabeth II, Gander International Airport was one of the busiest airports in the world and the terminal building was designed to showcase Canada’s finest architecture, designer furniture and art to international travelers.

The tourism industry in Newfoundland and Labrador generates over $1.1 billion in visitor spending each year, and is responsible for over 20,000 jobs, representing 2,600 businesses. As committed in The Way Forward, the Provincial Government is aiming to double resident and non-resident visitor spending to $1.6 billion by 2020. The Way Forward outlines all actions the Provincial Government is taking to achieve a strong, diversified province with a high standard of living, and can be viewed at

“We are pleased to partner with Gander International Airport Authority and ACOA to introduce interpretation in historic areas of the airport as part of modernizing the international lounge area. The recent success of Come from Away has increased demand to the lounge from non-resident visitors. This project will result in the addition of new people and program experiential tourism to existing infrastructure and activities, which is a goal of our Tourism Product Development Plan and the Central Destination Development Plan.”
Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore
Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation

“These renovations will preserve Gander’s rich history as a hub of world aviation and provide the services necessary to serve the growing tourism potential of the Town of Gander and the entire region. The work being done by the Airport Authority to merge preservation and progress is something we can all be proud of.”
Honourable John Haggie
Minister of Health and Community Services and MHA for Gander

“I commend Gander International Airport Authority on its vision and strategic plans for this underutilized space at the airport. Reviving this important part of Gander’s aviation history will contribute to tourism growth and lay a foundation for new business opportunities in this region.”
Scott Simms
Member of Parliament for Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“Gander International Airport can be both a conduit to the world and a hub for the community. This project seeks to reawaken, restore and repurpose underutilized space and spur economic development. While primarily a tourism-motivated project, waking up the lounge and returning access to residents and the world will be an exercise in place making. Gander International Airport Authority will adopt a new approach to an old airport with new promises and new opportunities.”
Reg Wright,
President and CEO Gander International Airport Authority

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The Way Forward: 2017-20 Provincial Tourism Product Development Plan

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Media contacts
Eric Humber
Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
709-729-4819, 709-725-9655

Paul McGrath

Jeremy Reynolds
Government Members Office

Reg Wright
Gander International Airport Authority

2019 08 28                                                    11:50 a.m.