Airport still bound by Mother Nature

The reliability of Castlegar’s airport doesn’t look like it will improve any time soon.

  • Jun. 4, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Chris Stedile

 

Castlegar News

 

The reliability of Castlegar’s airport doesn’t look like it will improve any time soon after a meeting between two Kootenay MPs and Air Canada officials.

BC Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko and Kootenay-Columbia representative David Wilks met with airline vice-president Derek Vanstone and afterward wrote a joint open letter.

Atamanenko believed joining forces with a member of another party would further emphasize how important the airport’s reliability is to the area. The fact Wilks is well-acquainted with Mayor Lawrence Chernoff also helped bring him into the fold.

“What we found out,” Atamanenko said, “was not only does Air Canada demand an approach, they need to be assured that they have the visibility for take-off. I didn’t know that. David and I were told  Air Canada needs a developed RNP system for departure as well as for landing before even considering sending their Q400 to Castlegar.”

RNP is short for required navigation performance. It’s a type of performance-based navigation that allows an aircraft to fly a specific path between two 3D-defined points in space.

Required navigation performance approaches allow aircraft to follow these precise three-dimensional curved flight paths through congested airspace, around noise-sensitive areas, or through difficult terrain.

 

This system could effectively halve the required visibility threshold, reducing it from 3,000 feet to just 1,500 or so.

Atamanenko said having a system like this — which currently is not available — would still not satisfy guidelines set by Air Canada. This proposed take-off assistance software would need to be successful in several more established airports before they would consider bringing it to Castlegar.

“It’s not just a matter of equipping one plane. They have to train pilots, and ensure the equipment is maintained and so on,” he said.

The MP said it’s much more complicated than he and many others originally thought.

Currently the involved parties are hoping to get another meeting on the books, involving both Air and Nav Canada, in hopes something may come up or at the very least make things clearer.

The letter from the two MPs reads: “As you are aware, technology currently exists to improve the reliability of airports such as our airport in Castlegar.  British Columbia and all West Kootenay communities would benefit if flights into Castlegar could be predictable during the winter … The economic benefits to our region and to Air Canada would be tremendous …

“It is important also for you to understand that together, we represent the current federal government as well as the official opposition. In the interest of the citizens of the West Kootenay region, we have chosen to collaborate on this important issue.

“We strongly urge you to cooperate with all stakeholders in order to ensure that the West Kootenay Regional Airport has access to the Q-400 aircraft as of the fall of 2015.”

 

The letter to Air Canada listed many more reasons why the area needs such equipment on their aircraft and was backed by several other signatories, including Nelson Mayor, Deb Kozak,  Castlegar District Chamber of Commerce director Tammy Verigin-Burk and MLA Katrine Conroy.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Extensive smoke, heat damage to Castlegar home after fire on Friday

One occupant suffered burns after fleeing house with pet

Cyclist struck in Castlegar

Morning mishap at gas station on Columbia

Kaslo bus fueled by vegetable oil to begin service next month

Mountain Man Mike’s will run routes to Vancouver and eventually Edmonton

Police investigating felling of old cedars at Cottonwood Lake

One of the cedars was 300 to 450 years old

Vancouver media/tech trip inspires Castlegar students

Students enthusiastically toured several company and educational sites

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

Most Read