Sask. premier joins others in collective call for PM to save air traffic control towers
REGINA -- Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe – along with five other premiers – has written a letter to the Prime Minister to ask Ottawa to get involved in the effort to save air traffic control towers in several cities.
Regina is one of seven Canadian cities under consideration for permanent air tower closure. Nav Canada is reviewing whether some airports are busy enough to require the service.
Moe – along with the premiers of Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and the Yukon – asked the federal government to advise Nav Canada to delay any decision until COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed and air traffic returns to normal levels.
“This is no time to make a decision like this. The tower and the airport – a fully functioning airport here whether it be in Regina or in Saskatoon or anywhere else in Saskatchewan – is absolutely critical,” said Moe.
The Regina Airport Authority CEO said the Regina airport is “more than busy enough” to have a control tower.
“It’s not only poor timing, but simply a poor choice of resources to consider any reduction to service at our airport,” said James Bogusz.
The letter stated that the federal government should not approve the final decision of the reviews until the pandemic has eased.
“When the pandemic passes, and it will, the aviation industry will play a large role in the economic recovery of each and every province and territory in the nation of Canada,” reads the letter.
Though Nav Canada is a private company, according to the letter, the federal government elects three members to the Board of Directors and Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra will have oversight of the review.
According to a release from the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association, more than 100 air traffic controllers received layoff notices across the country last month – including the 10 controllers at the Regina airport.
Air traffic controllers welcome the support of the premiers.
“I can’t thank the premiers enough. It was a strong message and a message that I hope the prime minister’s office takes very seriously,” said Jerry Brodt, regional vice president with the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association.
A petition to save Regina’s tower has gathered more than 8,000 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon.