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Castlegar gets $2.35 million for airport apron expansion

In what the manager describes as a “game-changer for commercial operations,” the apron at West Kootenay Regional Airport will be expanded this year thanks to a $2.35 million grant.

Maciej Habrych told Castlegar council this week the city was successful in securing funds from Transport Canada’s airport capital assistance program.

Work is expected to begin this summer to expand the apron northward and eastward and to extend the taxiway, allowing free flow of aircraft around the main apron and eliminating a key bottleneck.

“This allows the simultaneous operation of multiple Q400 [planes] while not disrupting any aircraft movements behind them,” he said. “This will be an amazing development.”

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Habrych also reported the airport had 40,000 passengers in 2022, an increase over the previous year but only half as many in 2019, prior to the pandemic.

He said December was a “tough month” for the airline industry and Castlegar was no exception. Twelve out of 31 flights were cancelled, for a 61 per cent success rate.

Habrych said a lot of that was due to local weather, but the “more frustrating ones” were the result of the Vancouver ice storm over the Christmas holidays.

Plane loads were 57 per cent in and out for the month, which he said was about normal.

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