Review could lead to closure of the Regina airport's control tower
REGINA -- A review that could lead to the closure of the Regina airport control tower is being met by opposition.
Nav Canada, which provides air traffic control services across Canada, is questioning whether Regina’s airport is busy enough to make it necessary.
The corporation is planning a review of the tower that has guided aircraft in and out of Regina for 60 years.
Newly sworn-in Regina Mayor Sandra Masters calls the plan an embarrassment.
“Anything that reduces our capacity is unacceptable, I think in the long term,” Masters said.
Nav Canada believes an airport should have 60,000 aircraft movements per year to warrant air traffic control. Last year, Regina fell 4,000 flights short of that threshold. The province is calling on Ottawa to intervene.
“The federal government owns the airport, the federal government regulates the air industry, the federal government needs to get involved and make sure that we have air traffic control access here in Regina,” Jeremy Harrison, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Trade, said.
Nav Canada said the review will focus on safety.
“This rigorous, systematic approach provides for full consultation with affected stakeholders, with the key factor being Safety,” the corporation said in a statement.
Local officials believe loss of an air traffic control tower will hurt the airport’s ability to grow.
“In our view, any change to the YQR’s capabilities would be a mistake,” John Lee, the president and CEO of Economic Development Regina, said.
The city, province and aviation community are expected to weigh in if the air traffic control review moves forward. Nav Canada expects to complete the process by the summer.