10/14/2011 10:55 EDT | Updated 12/14/2011 05:12 EST

Harper, McGuinty Mark Peterborough Airport Upgrade


Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Peterborough, Ont., Friday to mark the expansion of the local airport that was partly funded by the federal government.

The $28.5-million expansion project received funding from Ottawa's Economic Action Plan and from the Ontario government. Each government had committed up to $7 million for the project, designed to make the local airport more of an aviation and aerospace centre in Ontario.

"This project is a great example of the investments we've made to create jobs and growth in a time of global economic instability," Harper said.

Dalton McGuinty, the recently re-elected Liberal premier, was also at the announcement with Harper, Dean Del Mastro, Peterborough's Conservative MP, and other public officials.

McGuinty thanked Harper during his remarks for working with the provincial and local governments on the project.

"This is a great example of what we can accomplish when we work together," McGuinty said.

The airport in Peterborough, northeast of Toronto, has a new 2,100-metre runway, terminal building, new infrastructure designed to allow more types of aircraft to land, and new automatic weather observation system.

The expansion will let larger planes use the Peterborough Airport and with new commercial developments on the site, it's also meant to give a boost to local aviation companies.

Harper toured one of them, Flying Colours, while visiting the area.

"Because of its expanded airport, the region is now better equipped to attract new investments and expand existing industries including in its own growing aerospace and aviation industries," said Harper.

He said 12 aerospace companies have shown interest in setting up operations at the Peterborough airport and that the expansion is expected to add $16.5 million to the regional economy every year.

According to the Ontario government, the expansion created 80 new full-time jobs and will create another 50 in the region.