REGINA -- A memorandum of understanding signed between the City of Regina and the Regina International Airport on Friday means the two will work collaboratively with any plans going forward.

“The developments that are close by the airport, we certainly want to make sure that we’re part of that and the city does, too. And vice versa. I think we can work in tandem to help recover as we get out of this pandemic,” said Trent Fraser, chair of the Regina Airport Authority board.

Mayor Sandra Masters said the agreement is key to helping the city expand.

“We want to grow and we want to continue to promote industry, and we need that airport to be functioning and able to grow,” Masters said. “We’re busy developing, they’re busy looking at development and the needs of the airport. So for not to be agreeing to continually be connecting with each other and planning in that regard was a shortcoming I think for the city.”

The airport is doing future planning to expand the runway in order to attract larger planes. Plans for possible expansion both southeast and northwest of the airport have been drawn up. There is no timeline for the project, but now the city and airport are aware of what can be built.

Masters said the city doesn’t know if any adjustments would need to be made to facilitate an expansion, but now administration will keep the expansion in mind when approving building permits near the airport.

“It’s really important the City of Regina is aware of those plans, because we want to continue to grow as a city and we want them to continue to grow to serve our community in southern Saskatchewan,” Masters said.

Fraser said the airport would like to attract more flights following the pandemic.

“Our ground lease with the federal government is until 2079, so we’ve got a long ways to go. At the airport we do longterm planning, and that’s part of it,” Fraser said.

Masters said the recent decision to not close Regina’s air traffic control tower will help keep the airport viable for international travel.

The MOU does not create any binding obligations, but serves as a guide for future dialogue and formal agreements.