Flights as usual at Peace River despite changes

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

Some major changes will be happening at Peace River Airport this summer, but rest assured the airport will continue to be operational in its new format.

Peace River Airport manager William Stewart says that NAV CANADA has decided to make some changes to how they provide service at the airport. In Peace River, NAV CANADA supplies Flight Service Station (FSS) staff whose job is to provide weather, air traffic information and ground vehicle control.

“MAV CANADA conducted a service level review and determined that the level of usage of the Peace River FSS warranted the closure,” says Stewart.

“Steps have been taken to automate the services provided by NAV CANADA at the Peace River Regional Airport and as such there will be no disruption to service. Flights will still be able to come and go as per usual.”

There was some concern from residents this would mean the end to incoming and outcoming flights for aircraft, however; the methods to get information to pilots will just be changing.

“Prior to the final closure date NAV CANADA is installing an automated weather facility so that pilots are still able to receive weather updates,” explains Stewart.

“The Peace River Regional Airport Association (PRRAA) is also installing a pilot-controlled lighting system to ensure that aircraft are able to use the airport at night.”

The major change will be the closure of the man-controlled Flight Service Station, replacing it instead with the automated services, largely decided due to the low number of aircraft traffic at the Peace River Airport. A NAV CANADA Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) with a Voice-Generated Sub-System (VGSS) and digital aviation weather cameras (DAWC) will be installed.

“The PRRAA (Peace River Regional Airport Association) continues to operate and develop the Peace River Regional Airport,” Stewart says.

“The closure of the NAV CANADA FSS, while unfortunate, will not adversely affect these plans.”

Stewart says that while currently a NAV CANADA employee on site provides weather observations to pilots, the new automated system will do it without a human in the station. Changes are planned to take effect on July 11 at 0901 Coordinated Universal Time.

“I’m pleased to state that with financial assistance provided via the Alberta Regional Airport Development Grant, the Peace River Regional Airport has started the process of a comprehensive master plan and air service development strategy,” says Stewart.

“Using this plan and strategy we are aiming to set a course for a long lasting and active airport while exploring opportunities of attracting new scheduled air service to the area,” he concludes.

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