Airport usage has been greater than the city was expecting during the pandemic, including commercial air service and medical evacuations, says municipal manager Robert Baker.
Read more: YZZ weathering the pandemic storm
Read more: YZZ flights to resume
Pacific Coastal Airlines has been increasing the number of flights based on demand since they resumed service in June, and there will be two flights a day on Sundays and Fridays beginning in October.
Baker says the landing success rate has been on-par with previous years, with the exception of a couple of days when there was smoke sitting in the valley.
The Times update follows the City of Trail announcing that Trail Regional Airport (YZZ) will receive $65,000 in grant funding from the BC Air Access Program towards the purchase and installation of an Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS).
The complete system will cost $90,000.
Council has approved the remaining $25,000 to be funded through the 2020 municipal capital budget.
“The installation of an AWOS at YZZ will provide tremendous value for the airport and our partners, including Pacific Coastal Airlines, BC Air Ambulance Service, Interior Health, and the Trail Flying Club,” Baker said.
An AWOS provides continuous real-time weather reporting and the precise height of the cloud level using a device called a ceilometer.
During inclement weather, the cloud level at YZZ determines whether or not a flight will take off or land.
“The pilots and grounds crew will be able to use the accurate data from the ceilometer to make a decision,” Baker explained. “Whereas the current procedure requires pilots to judge a flight’s status based on a visual interpretation of the area’s cloud level and current weather reporting.”
The AWOS also includes a visibility sensor, a dual barometric pressure sensor, a temperature and dew point gauge, a heated ultrasonic wind sensor, and a multi-channel communication radio.
All of these components play a crucial role in the system for accurate information and data.
The city has already issued a Request for Proposal for the AWOS, with a closing date of Oct. 7.
Baker says the plan is to have the system in place and functioning by Dec. 1, which is perfect timing for the winter season.
“Also, at that point, we will most likely see an increase in passenger flights out of YZZ,” Baker concluded. “As Pacific Coastal Airlines recently announced that flight service between Trail and Vancouver will increase to eight flights weekly starting Oct. 4.”
The British Columbia Air Access Program provides funding to assist B.C. aviation facilities, including airports, heliports and water aerodromes, to improve infrastructure and environmental performance. Through this cost-sharing program, facility operators can invest in safety, social improvements (such as improved medevac) and climate/environmental projects that help strengthen local, regional and provincial economies.