The West Kootenay Regional Airport has seen a sharp decline in revenues due to the halting of commercial flights, but that doesn’t mean the runway is completely silent. Photo: Betsy Kline

West Kootenay Regional Airport sees action in spite of Air Canada cancellations

Revenue losses are making a huge impact

Ever since Air Canada cancelled all its flights into the West Kootenay Regional Airport due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the airport has been struggling financially.

As of the end of June, the airport has seen a revenue loss of $414,000 and the city projects losses may reach as much as $1 million this year if commercial flights do not resume.

But a recent report submitted to Castlegar city council by airport manager Patrick Gauvreau shows that even though Air Canada may account for the bulk of the facility’s revenue, it doesn’t account for the bulk of the airport’s traffic.

RELATED: City of Castlegar revenues take a big hit in first half of 2020

Gauvreau’s report covered airport movements for April, May and June. A movement is considered a landing, take-off or simulated approach to the runway.

In April there were 294 movements, in May there were 746 and in June there were 540.

Gauvreau says most movements are from the general aviation community, including private planes and flight schools. There are also flights from the Southeast Fire Centre and medevac flights.

There were seven medevac flights in April, 11 in May and 14 in June.

The City of Castlegar collects fees from airplanes that use the airport based on the size of the plane. A small private jet or turbo prop plane may pay as little as $22 to land at the airport. However, piston engine aircraft are exempt from the fees.

Fees are also collected for parking aircraft, again based on size. Those fees range from $6 to $150 a day.

Revenues collected at the airport during April, May and June from things like landing fees, terminal fees, parking fees, departure fees and commissions totalled $55,258. During the same period in 2019, revenue was $206,560, for a decrease of $151,302. Most of the airport’s remaining revenue losses for the year are connected to the suspension of commercial flights.

But at the last city council meeting, Castlegar CAO Chris Barlow explained there are a number of spin-off revenues related to airplane traffic to consider such as fuel purchases, restaurant meals, hotels and purchases at local businesses.

The city has reduced service levels at the airport in an effort to cut costs, including negotiating a 25-per-cent cost reduction with the main airport contractor to reduce the scope of work to cover just base requirements.

The city has also appealed to the provincial and federal governments for emergency funding in consideration of the regional health and fire services the city provides through the airport.



betsy.kline@castlegarnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Air Travelcastlegar

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Times reporter recalls John Turner’s return to Rossland home

“Mr. Turner treated my wife, Gerry, and I like we were long lost friends.” - Jim Swettenham

B.C. government to destroy old-growth caribou habitat

Letter from Wildsight Conservation Specialist Eddie Petryshen

The changing size of government in Canada, 2007–2018

“The size of government in Canada is an important matter of public policy.”

West Kootenay mother searching for son missing since Sept. 1

Police are investigating the disappearance of Cory Westcott

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read