ALBERTA
03/25/2014 05:03 EDT | Updated 05/25/2014 05:59 EDT

Chris Hadfied To MC Fort McMurray Airport Terminal Gala Opening

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FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. - Astronaut Chris Hadfield will MC the May 31 opening gala for Fort McMurray Airport's new $258-million international terminal, airport officials announced.

As well, rock band Bachman and Turner will perform during the by-invitation-only event.

Under construction since August 2011, the terminal will open to air travellers June 9. Five times the size of the current building, the new structure is designed to handle 1.5 million passengers annually.

In 2013, the airport serving Alberta's booming oil sands region handled nearly 1.2 million passengers, up 25 per cent from 2012. It's the fastest growing airport in the country in terms of passenger numbers, said spokesperson Susan Elliott.

A four-star Marriott hotel connected to the terminal by an enclosed walkway is to open in 2016, said Elliott.

Fort McMurray Airport, which opened in 1985, is located 13 kilometres from downtown Fort McMurray.

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