Castlegar/Trail dueling-airport rivalry takes wing
Cross-community competition continues, as Castlegar offers back-handed congratulations to neighbouring Trail’s competing airport.
A press release issued by the City of Castlegar was the latest salvo in a long-standing rivalry between the two cities, centering primarily around major infrastructure such as the airports and potential hospital facilities.
In the release, issued Friday, Castlegar reiterated its stance that the West Kootenay Regional Airport is, in fact, the hub of airline traffic for the region.
The press release reads as follows:
“Castlegar City Council is pleased to hear of the City of Trail’s success in reaching new approach limits for their runway 34 approach into the Trail Airport. These new lower limits at the Trail airport will now be equivalent to the West Kootenay Regional Airport’s current approach limits.
“The recent Trail airport press release speaks of drastically lower limits, but neglects to advise what the new limits actually are or what the old limits were. In actual fact, the old limits fully explained why Pacific Coastal often made their approach using Castlegar’s procedure rather than Trail’s. The old limits for runway 16 were over 4,000 feet above ground. The new limits, while vastly improved, are no better than Castlegar’s. Runway 34 has moved from a little worse than Castlegar to a little better, but there is a catch. The approach for runway 34 requires the approaching aircraft to operate in US airspace. The area in question is in the Roosevelt Military Operations Area, which is used for in-flight refueling, training, flight familiarization and aircraft combat maneuvering. When it is active, which is most of the time, the runway 34 approach cannot be used.
“’The West Kootenay Regional Airport will remain open to Trail aircraft for landing when runway 34 approaches are unavailable due to the Roosevelt Military Operations Area being closed to Canadian aircraft or weather patterns won’t permit safe landings at the Trail airport,’ said Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff.
“In the meantime, the City of Castlegar, working with the cooperation of several surrounding communities has contracted Jeppesen, the leader in Aviation solutions, to determine how to best proceed to obtain new, significantly lower limits than what currently exist at either airport using the newest RNP technology.”