The new James Richardson Terminal Building is set to open in October

Rural residents interested in getting a sneak-peek at the new James Richardson Airport Terminal in Winnipeg had a brief chance to do so this week.

The Winnipeg Airports Authority was looking for 1300 volunteers from across the province to put the new building, and its services, through the paces.  Unfortunately, like Winnipeg Jets season tickets, the spots filled up quickly.  Christine Alongi is the Director of Communciations for the WAA and she explains what they will be looking for.

"We need people to test every scenario possible.  People will be given a little script and say 'here ya go, we want you to check-in, we want you to find your gate, we want to find your way back, pick-up your bags' so, we'll be testing every aspect of the new air terminal building to ensure that the flows and the experience are as they were intended and to just test all the systems."

Volunteers were able to apply as individuals or in groups of upto six people.  Alongi says the group sign-up is intended for families or other groups who typically travel together.

"We are looking for people of every diversity, every capability, different age groups, genders, those sorts of things.  Our team will be dissecting all of the applicants and putting them into groups so that we can test in terms of the diversity of our users and represent different age groups and abilities."

The new terminal is 51,000 square metres big and features 10,000 square metres of glass to provide plenty of natural light, particularly in the arrivals area.  There is also a constellation of 55 Skylights which are strategically placed to catch and disperse sunlight into the airport.  The new terminal also meets the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) rating level as a certified environmentally friendly building.  Alongi says it is also sports all the latest travel technology and will be quite a change for some.

"It is the newest airport in Canada and it certainly reflects that in terms of newest technologies, etc., so, very different to how people travel today.  That grand check-in counter is not there, most of it is technology driven.  Most of the airlines actually find that their passengers have checked-in at home, at the office, on their personal device so, this is really an opportunity for people to come in and see what the new airport offers in terms of the newest travel experience."

Alongi says it is all there to make travelling a much smoother experience.

"The new air terminal building and the new infrastructure that has been built is to ease that customer's experience."

She adds that despite the fact they will not be travelling, volunteers will also be well taken care of.

"All our volunteers will be provided with free parking and refreshments during the trials.  So, those folks coming in from out of town, we certainly do want to make sure we're looking after them."

The volunteer commitment required is between 4-6 hours of time.  For more info on the new terminal and its features, check out the WAA website at