The city has bumped up a capital purchase in their priority list in response to flights being re-routed away from the Campbell River Airport due to a lack of proper de-icing equipment.
In financial planning meetings this week, council had a $200,000 purchase of ariport de-icing equipment “below the line” – meaning it was not scheduled to be funded. Instead, Coun. Colleen Evans asked for it to be moved into the “above the line” budget for 2019, calling it “an important opportunity for our community, both from an economic development and tourism perspectives, as well as for our own residents. Right now, flights are being cancelled or diverted to other airports because we don’t have the proper de-icing equipment are available,” Evans said, suggesting that a business case could be completed examining the possible partnerships between the city and the airlines sometime next year, so the city should be ready to fund the purchase for the following one.
“In 2016, we had 31 inbound/outbound flights that had to be diverted strictly due to us not having the aircraft de-icing equipment,” Evans said, calling those re-routed flights “missed opportunities.”
Both airlines currently flying into and out of Campbell River Airport – Central Mountain Air and Pacific Coastal Airlines – have their own type-1 de-icing equipment, according to general manager of facilities and supplies management Dave Morris, which is for frost, but the de-icing equipment in question is a type-4 de-icer, which is for snow.
Morris, when questioned, informed council that there is a possibility that staff could possibly have agreements in place with the airlines early next year, which would then give them time to secure the equipment before next winter, should the funding be available next year instead of the year after.
The motion was changed to fund the equipment for next year instead, which was then approved.