Air Creebec passengers might be touching down at St. Hubert Airport one day soon instead of Dorval.

Air Creebec’s hangar on the west side of the airport is slated for demolition as Dorval goes through a $180-million expansion.

The structure is one of five large hangars used by Air Canada, Royal Airlines, Air Inuit, Air Creebec and other airlines.

The airlines clean their planes there, do pre- and post-flight checks, load on freight and leave planes there overnight.

Dorval reportedly wants to tear the hangars down by 2004 to give big planes at the congested airport more manoeuvring room.

Air Creebec hopes it can find space in a new hangar at Dorval, but the Cree-owned airline fears that hangar prices might go up and no longer be affordable.

That means Air Creebec might have to move to another airport like St. Hubert or faraway Mirabel, said Albert Diamond, the company’s president.

“There is a chance the smaller airlines could be forced to move out,” he said.

“The cost will go up because of the cost of the new hangars to be built. Also, they may not build enough for everyone.”

Diamond said Air Creebec is hoping to find new space at Dorval well before the scramble for hangar space starts in the next couple of years.

But if that fails, Air Creebec might leave Dorval or base fewer planes there.

The main problem with leaving Dorval, he said, is that’s where passengers catch connecting flights. The solution would be to have a courtesy van shuttle passengers back and forth.

A Dorval Airport spokeswoman didn’t return several calls. The airport administration has been accused of being overly secretive in media reports.

The St. Hubert Airport is about the same distance from downtown as Dorval – 15 to 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

The airport’s manager, Michel Beaudoin, said the trip is usually faster than to Dorval because of less traffic.

The St. Hubert airport, built in 1930, is one of Canada’s oldest. It was a military airport until 1970 and is now used by private flying clubs.

The airport’s 7,840-foot runway is long enough for the large passenger planes, but the pavement still has to be strengthened and a passenger terminal has to be built.

Transport Canada now owns the airport, but is in negotiations to sell it to a prospective private-sector buyer.

Some airlines are complaining there isn’t a lot of information about Dorval Airport’s expansion.

“I don’t know what’s happening at Dorval Airport. They don’t tell us too much,” said a manager at an airline that operates at Dorval.

An employee at Air Canada, who requested anonymity, confirmed rumours are flying that the airport will tear down his company’s hangar and those nearby.

He also complained about the poor state of airport services and facilities: “This airport is the pits. It’s embarrassing.”