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Study brings new hope for remediation of issues at West Kootenay Regional Airport

Phase One of a three-phase effort to improve access at the regional airport yields positive results.

In a press release today, the City of Castlegar announced big news for people travelling via the West Kootenay Regional Airport (WKRA).

Mayor Lawrence Chernoff, city council and representatives from the Regional District of Central Kootenay, area municipal councils and local business representatives met yesterday to receive a report that outlines possible improvements to the regional airport’s landing and departure navigation system.

 “We are very excited to hear Jeppesen Aviation – one of the largest aeronautical navigation systems companies in the world – state that a new proposed navigation system could be successfully applied to greatly increase the safety and landing reliability at the WKRA in all weather conditions,” Chernoff said.

“The study is great news for air travellers in and out of the West Kootenay,” he added. “It is critical for the region’s economic growth that we continue to improve the WKRA because it is central to the region. That is why we are excited to hear the results of the study from senior Jeppesen Aviation representatives. Jeppesen Aviation has solved (at other airports) similar issues to those encountered at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. The year-long study at the WKRA has identified new approach and departure procedures, that, if fully designed and approved will dramatically improve our airport’s ability to operate when the weather becomes challenging in the winter.”

The Jeppesen Aviation analysis has identified a navigational design for both landings and departures that will significantly reduce the current required height limitations that will, in turn, significantly increase the airport’s availability all year round. The analyzed design will require specific permissions designed for the West Kootenay Regional Airport.

“The proposed design will need specific approvals from Transport Canada for design features that, while not yet in practice in Canada, have all been previously approved in the United States,” Chernoff said.

The Jeppesen study completes Phase 1 of the three phase project. Phase Two will be to meet with the federal regulatory agencies and the national airlines to discuss their needs for implementation.

Phase Three will be implementation of the advanced navigation system.

City staff will be meeting with the national regulatory agencies within the next month to initiate an approval/review/design process for the new navigation system as identified by Jeppesen Aviation.

There’s no timeline for project completion as this point.