Air traffic control services to continue at Windsor International Airport
WINDSOR, ONT. -- While a study into streamlining operations at multiple airports across the country continues, Nav Canada has confirmed the YQG control tower is here to stay.
Nav Canada issued a news release Thursday stating that it will maintain air traffic control service to the communities involved in the study after consultations with airlines, airports, industry associations and local officials.
“Stakeholder engagement is at the heart of Nav Canada’s aeronautical study process. The valuable input we have received indicates that a balanced approach is warranted as the industry navigates the ongoing pandemic. We are proactively taking these steps to maintain a consistent level of service as the aviation industry and our many partners shift their focus to recovery,” said Ray Bohn, president and CEO.
In fall of 2020, YQG, along with 28 other airports were part of a study in an effort to “safely streamline its operations.”
In January, Windsor air traffic controllers received notice they could lose their jobs.
“We have good news that we can go take to the airlines that we’re talking with and perspective tenants that we’re talking with that we have some certainty that the tower will remain in operation which is great news,” Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens said.
Dilkens, who also sits as chair of the board for YQG, says time and effort has been spent on maximizing the potential of YQG.
“To the point where it now pays the city of Windsor a million dollar annual dividend because of operations,” he said. “We didn’t wanna lose that momentum. We wanted to continue to build on the economic potential.”
The airport experienced a banner year in 2019 with more than 380,000 passengers — a 300 per cent increase over 2009.
Canada’s Minister of Transport also weighed in on Thursday’s announcement.
“Maintaining appropriate service in our local communities will allow Nav Canada to continue to provide air navigation services required to support industry today and throughout the recovery,” Omar Alghabra said in a statement.
The news is a sigh of relief for pilots.
“They gotta fly the airplane, look for other planes and communicate with other pilots if the area if there’s no traffic controls so it becomes a much higher stress and multitask situation at that point,” Dante Albano, flight instructor, said.
Local MPS are also thrilled to hear air traffic at Windsor International Airport is staying put.
“This is really the product of a community coming together as one voice to protect what is a critical part of our community,” Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk said.
Windsor West MP Brian Masse says he still intends to move forward with a bill that would allow the federal government to stop possible closures from happening.
“We can sit on our hands and feel sorry for ourselves but when you get up and take action you never know what can be and I’m grateful for the people that have joined in this campaign,” Masse said.
Nav Canada says the studies are still in progress, and will be considering other alternatives to safely update operations including changes to operating hours.