The city is seeking financial aid to help operate the regional airport during the COVID-19 crisis. File photo

The city is seeking financial aid to help operate the regional airport during the COVID-19 crisis. File photo

City of Castlegar to ask for financial support to help operate West Kootenay Regional Airport

The city said it will be sending a letter to provincial and federal ministers shortly

The City of Castlegar said it plans to send a letter to provincial and federal ministers to ask for more financial support to help operate the West Kootenay Regional Airport.

According to the city, the airport has lost $100,000 in revenue since flights were suspended in mid-March. Overall, the municipality said the airport has seen revenue losses of up to 95 per cent over the last month due to the COVID-19 crisis.

READ MORE: West Kootenay Regional Airport facing financial challenges

Castlegar mayor Bruno Tassone said there’s a variety of reasons for why the city needs funding to help maintain the airport.

“The city expects that when flights resume, passenger volume will be significantly lower than projected,” said Tassone in a draft letter to provincial and federal ministers.

“Even without passenger flights, the airport also needs to be ready at all times for fire attack and medical flights.”

Tassone said funding is also needed to help the airport meet safety regulations and to help maintain its certification status.

Tassone said it’s not sustainable for the city to cut more costs at the airport at this time.

“The city has reduced costs wherever possible but can’t reduce some fixed operating costs,” said Tassone.

“The airport will soon be in a major deficit without passenger fees, which provide the primary source of revenue.”

Some cuts the city has already taken at the airport include suspending the hiring of a new airport manager, closing the terminal building to the public, suspending janitorial services, and deferring capital projects.

It’s still unknown as to when Air Canada could resume flights in and out of the airport.

The city expects to send the letter on Friday (April 17).


@connortrembley
connor.trembley@castlegarnews.com

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