LETTER: Castlegar airport hopes are pie in the sky

From reader Ross Shears

Re: “Proposed Castlegar airport upgrade could increase reliability” (Sept. 22)

Before continuing, go back and read the original article on the original study done by Nav Canada and Jeppesen (Nelson Star, Jan. 29, 2016) noting the limits and probability of changes within the current and enforced regulatory environment as quoted by the named representatives of both agencies. The take-away quotes, in particular, are, “… without multiple exemptions you can not improve on what is there now,” and “more exemptions that create a domino effect of new problems,” and “are highly unlikely to be approved by Transport Canada.”

Fast forward to last week’s Sept. 22 article and the take-away quote from Jeppesen, “… will require significant exceptions to the current TC approved criteria.” So what has changed? And what is new here other than the money (yours) that has been spent on a pie in the sky idea with limited chance of approval, as already quoted?

Mr. Gouk, as noted, who is employed by the City of Castlegar, will continue to earn his consultancy fees, travel expenses, etc. lobbying the various agencies to allow the regulatory exemptions and to encourage any airline to accept the cost and risk of adopting this new standard should it ever be approved.

You can win by losing. Both he and the mayor must keep the dream alive to justify the ongoing expenditures, as it will not be their fault that no operator steps up to the plate or the required exemptions are not approved. It is far too easy to justify and spend the public’s money in this way as it is the perception of action, flying in the face of (regulatory) reality.

The Jeppesen report’s findings (required exemptions) were predictable. Good luck with the rest. In aviation, safety is paramount and luck is a word that is never incorporated.

Airlines always work with Transport Canada to modify and improve their procedures with the goal of more favourable limits and reliability. Let them do the lobbying.

Ross Shears


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