Regina airport CEO amongst leaders rallying to avoid wasting management towers

Regina airport CEO among leaders rallying to save control towers

2021-02-24 03:08:10

Eleven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, silence fills Regina’s airport.

Empty check-in counters line one facet of the terminal whereas the odd worker strikes behind reception alongside a row of car rental desks.

There’s nobody on the staircase passengers use upon arriving in Saskatchewan’s capital metropolis. The variety of flights scheduled to land on Monday: 4.

“It’s nearly like a ghost city,” mentioned James Bogusz, CEO and president of the Regina Airport Authority.

Canada’s aviation trade has been among the many hardest hit by the pandemic, due to federal journey restrictions and public-health recommendation urging would-be travellers to remain dwelling.

Learn extra:
Province asks feds to reverse Nav Canada’s resolution to put off air visitors controllers in Regina

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Bogusz mentioned he’s involved that any comeback in air journey may very well be hampered in Regina by service reductions to air-traffic management.

Nav Canada, the non-profit physique that runs the nation’s civil air navigation service, is reviewing airport towers in Regina and 6 different small Canadian cities. That has triggered considerations from native leaders in regards to the impact on their airports and neighborhood companies.

“I don’t need a small city,” mentioned Bogusz. “I need my mid-size metropolis airport again.”

The opposite airport towers beneath evaluation are in St-Jean, Que., Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Fort McMurray, Alta., Prince George, B.C., and Whitehorse, Yukon.

On the coronary heart of every evaluation is whether or not air visitors on the airports warrants having a management tower versus an advisory service for pilots.

“We’ve to function the correct service, on the proper place, on the proper time,” mentioned Jonathan Bagg, Nav Canada’s director of stakeholder and trade relations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic does give us extra stimulus due to the monetary setting; nonetheless, the research are warranted no matter COVID-19.”

Learn extra:
Regina airport visitors management tower in query after NAV Canada declares layoffs

He defined that an air visitors controller offers directions to pilots throughout instances together with takeoff; an advisory service presents steering by way of data that features climate and runway situations.

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Bagg mentioned the opinions won’t compromise security and Nav Canada is air visitors numbers on the airports earlier than the pandemic.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens desires his metropolis off the checklist due to its proximity to Detroit, which makes airspace extra difficult.

Dilkens, who additionally chairs the airport’s board, questions how shedding the airport’s tower would have an effect on attracting new airways and routes.

“Something that causes them an extra degree of concern that makes us much less aggressive…that’s our financial concern.”

WestJet has mentioned management towers don’t affect its operations.

Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah mentioned shedding towers “would have an effect on general efficiencies as airline operations grow to be considerably extra advanced.”

Learn extra:
Looming Air Canada cuts trigger concern for Regina Airport Authority

She cited doable delays at non-controlled websites and the necessity for extra gasoline to cowl delays or diversions to different airports.

“These inefficiency elements all improve working prices and may have an effect on the general industrial viability of routes.”

RJ Steenstra, president and CEO of the Fort McMurray Airport Authority, mentioned closing its tower may have an effect on future efforts to diversify tourism within the area.

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“German constitution carriers won’t fly to an airport that doesn’t have a tower,” he mentioned. “When a lot of the trade is in flux, it’s not an excellent time to decide like this.”

Bagg mentioned Nav Canada hopes to current by spring its suggestions for the seven towers to Transport Canada, which should give closing approval.

Six premiers have requested Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to delay a choice till after COVID-19 is beneath management sufficient so journey restrictions will be lifted.

Click to play video 'Province asks feds to reverse Nav Canada’s decision to lay off air traffic controllers in Regina'

Province asks feds to reverse Nav Canada’s resolution to put off air visitors controllers in Regina

Province asks feds to reverse Nav Canada’s resolution to put off air visitors controllers in Regina – Feb 2, 2021

In a press release, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra mentioned Transport Canada would do its personal security evaluation of any proposed modifications.

Dilkens mentioned it could be a mistake for Ottawa to disregard financial implications. The federal government has spent million of {dollars} enhancing Windsor’s airport.

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Notices about layoffs have been issued to air visitors controllers final month, elevating considerations that closures have already been determined. “This has eroded our belief within the course of,” mentioned Bogusz.

Bagg mentioned letters have been despatched as a result of the collective settlement requires workers be notified that their jobs could also be in danger. The layoffs are topic to the end result of the opinions.

The Canadian Air Site visitors Management Affiliation, which represents air visitors controllers, has mentioned about 60 jobs would disappear if the seven towers have been closed.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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