The City of Castlegar has hired a major American aviation consultant to improve the reliability of landing and take-off at the Castlegar airport.
In a news release, Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff said, “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.”
The news release states that the project will have three phases.
The first phase would see Jeppesen “analyze and calculate a new computerized approach that links to geo-spatial satellites.”
Last January, after speaking with Ron Singer of Nav Canada (the company that runs airport navigation systems in all Canadian airports) and corresponding with Jeff Bruce of Jeppesen, the Star reported that with current technology, landings could not be improved without compromising safety, and that take-off could not be improved at all.
Asked about this apparent contradiction, Castlegar’s city manager John Malcolm referred the Star to the employee of Jeppesen who is working on the Castlegar project. He had not responded by press time.
The second phase, according to the news release, “will be to meet with the national airlines to discuss their needs for implementation.”
In the Star’s January article, it was reported that WestJet has no plans to start flying into Castlegar, and that the planes currently used by Air Canada on the Castlegar run are not capable of taking on the RNP (required navigation procedure) system that would be required.
Malcom said that council will be meeting soon with both airlines to discuss an airport marketing study the city published last summer. He said that study will not be made public.
In the third phase, Jeppesen would meet with federal regulators, seeking their approval of the Jeppesen plan.
Malcolm said the Jeppeson proposal will come before city council on September 19.