The West Kootenay Regional Airport is facing financial hardships due to COVID-19. Photo: Betsy Kline

The West Kootenay Regional Airport is facing financial hardships due to COVID-19. Photo: Betsy Kline

West Kootenay Regional Airport facing financial challenges

The City of Castlegar is having to make some tough decisions at its airport.

The City of Castlegar is facing some tough financial challenges including how to deal with an airport with no scheduled commercial flights due to COVID-19.

The West Kootenay Regional Airport is funded from airport fees and usually those fees cover the airport’s expenses.

With flights suspended at least until April 30 the city is seeing a significant impact to airport revenue and may have to dip into the general budget to cover expenses.

There have already been a number of cuts put into place to reduce expenses at the airport including suspending the hiring of a new airport manager, closing the terminal building to the public, reducing Commissionaires’ hours, suspending janitorial services and deferring capital projects.

According to city staff, a certain level of service and upkeep must be maintained at the airport in order to fulfill contractual obligations with the Southeast Fire Centre and to enable medevac flights.

While the city didn’t give precise figures of how much it expects to lose, average April revenue for the past three years has been $50,000. Anticipated revenue for April 2020 was $65,000 due to increased parking and landing fees.

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The city is also facing lost revenue due to the provincial mandate to close casinos.

The city receives about $450,000 annually from Chances Gaming Centre as part of a host city agreement.

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betsy.kline@castlegarnews.com

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West Kootenay Regional Airport facing financial challenges