The City of Castlegar, the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) and Columbia Basin Trust have joined together to fund a study they hope will lead to new options for increasing reliability at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Over the last six years, the airport has maintained a landing success rate of 86.5 per cent. Summer rates can be as high as 100 per cent in a given month, and winter rates can be as low as 51 per cent.
The City has hired Jeppsen Aviation, a major American aviation consultant, to complete a Registered Navigation Procedure and Landing Configuration Analysis. The scope of the study will include both landings and departures. It will include a review of the airport’s landing runway configuration to determine whether physical improvements to the airfield could improve reliability. Runway alignment, position and realignment will also be looked at. Jeppsen will also analyze and calculate a new computerized approach that links to geo-spatial satellites.
In a press release, Mayor Lawrence Chernoff stated, “We are very excited to hear Jeppesen Aviation, one of the largest aeronautical navigation systems companies in the world, state that navigation advances could be successfully applied to increase the safety and landing reliability at the West Kootenay Regional Airport in all weather conditions.”
Columbia Basin Trust has committed $150,000 and the RDCK $20,000. The remaining $95,000 will be paid by the City of Castlegar out of the airport reserves.
The Jeppesen Aviation study is phase one of a three phase project. Phase two will be meeting with the national airlines to discuss their needs for implementation. The final phase will be to meet with federal air regulators to implement the system designed by Jeppesen Aviation.
Results from Jeppson’s study will be submitted to the City in about nine months.