The Canadian Department of National Defense built the airport in 1943 as part of the defense network to defend the coast from hostile invasion and as part of the airport system used to ferry American aircraft to Alaska. The airport was transferred to the Department of Transport in 1946.
The airport has two paved runways: 15/33 is 7500 feet long and 03/21 is 5373 feet. Both are 150 feet wide.
105,086 passengers used the airport in 2006. There were 14,002 aircraft movements in 2006. As a provider of vital transportation services, Northwest Regional Airport, Terrace-Kitimat contributes over $46 million to the local economy. Activities at the airport sustained the equivalent of 246 full time jobs.
Nav Canada, a not for profit corporation that owns and operates Canada’s air navigation system, provides pilot advisory services from the airport on a 24 hour basis.
Operating surpluses are used to pay for airport capital improvement projects such as the purchase of heavy airside equipment (snow blowers, runway sweepers, etc.), the repaving of runway and extension of runway 15/33, improvements to the apron and taxiways and site preparation for the Instrument Landing System. The federal Department of Transport through its Airport Capital Assistance Program provides funding assistance for these projects. The Canada BC Infrastructure Grant program provided funding assistance for 2/3 of the runway extension project in 2005. An expansion project to the airport terminal building was completed during 2006/2007.
The airport and Nav Canada inaugurated the first Instrument Landing System at a mountain airport in Canada on November 28, 2002. The ILS provides a non precision instrument approach to runway 33.