Sandspit airport considering reduced visibility plan

  • Apr. 29, 2009 11:00 a.m.

Flights may be delayed or cancelled if Sandspit airport does not come up with a low and reduced visibility operations plan. New Transport Canada guidelines, circulated in March, require airports to modify facilities in order to allow airlines to land or take off in low visibility conditions (RVR2600, which equates to ½ a statute mile of visibility). The National Airlines Council of Canada raised the issue in a letter that was circulated to the mayors of cities that non-compliant airports serve. The Sandspit airport is not compliant and Queen Charlotte council discussed the letter at the April 6 meeting. “The decision not to enhance facilities will result in flight delays and cancellations,” writes NACC president George Petsikas. “Inevitably travelers will lay the blame on carriers for reductions in service levels caused by such airport decisions.” According to Transport Canada’s Sara Hof, the Sandspit Airport, which is operated by TC, is reviewing options for a low and reduced visibility operations plan. “It’s up to airports to comply should they choose to offer services in specific conditions. If an airport chooses not to comply, aircraft cannot fly to/from that airport under certain weather conditions.” She says this will have a minor impact on current service levels. “The airport estimates that fewer than five flights per year would be affected by these standards.”