Hamilton takes innovative approach to add food options

Swoop’s presence in Southern Ontario has more than doubled the number of passengers at Hamilton International in the past two years (photo: Swoop).

As Hamilton International airport grows, thanks in particular to new flights from ultra low-cost carrier Swoop Airlines, the need for more food and drink options for passengers has become apparent. So the airline has partnered with Equal Parts Hospitality to come up with a unique solution to the shortage… shipping containers.

Hamilton airport said Equal Parts approached it with the idea of installing two shipping containers to feed passengers and staff with local “grab and go” food options. One container will be installed in the arrivals area, while the second will be placed in the departures lounge for waiting passengers.

Local food options, light entrees, gourmet coffee and craft beer will be sold at the new facilities. They will have a modular design, and can be moved as needed around the terminal.

“Airport employees and staff at the various businesses that operate at the airport have provided survey feedback for some time to add food and beverage offerings,” said Hamilton International’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Dina Carlucci.

“The partnership with Equal Parts helps deliver on that much anticipated need while also incorporating Hamilton’s ‘sense of place’ into the Airport with both food and beverage brands from Hamilton and an innovative approach to adding retail space using shipping containers that remind us of Hamilton’s lively port,” she said.

The partnership is also a relatively inexpensive way to add food options. By comparison, Regina International is spending about $1 million to move walls to create more post-security food and service space.

“We worked closely with Equal Parts and Detour YHM to design two contemporary food and beverage kiosks,” said Keri MacLellan, a designer at Westgrove Design. “The shipping container exterior is a nod to Hamilton’s steel city roots mixed with the juxtaposition of a modern and sleek finishes and furnishing that point to Hamilton’s commitment to emerging trends and the art world.”

Hamilton handled 725,630 passengers last year, a 21% increase from the year before. The airport has not yet, however, recovered from the drop in passengers experienced when Westjet moved its eastern hub to Toronto International Airport in 2000. At that point, the facility handled well over a million passengers a year.

Swoop operates one of its bases at Hamilton, and will offer 44 weekly departures this winter from the airport, in addition to flights six days a week from Westjet. Norwegian has recently started flights to Dublin. KF Aerospace is also in the midst of a massive expansion of its maintenance and repair facilities in Hamilton.

Detour Coffee Roasters, Collective Arts Brewing and Dear Grain Bakery will occupy the first two containers. The new containers are being built off-site, and are expected to be installed this fall.

Categories: Hamilton