It was with some amusement I read the comment in Mr. Kevin Rea’s letter (“Silence on airport noise,” Dec. 11) that the intent of the Sechelt Airport runway expansion is to introduce regular commercial flights, specifically aircraft such as the Dash 8-Q400. Yes, it does sound ominous to some that an aircraft such as the Dash 8 may be coming to Sechelt Airport.
Unfortunately, the opportunity of having such an air charter service made available to residents of the Sunshine Coast after the runway expansion are pretty much zero.
Currently the Sechelt Airport runway is about 2400 ft. long and 75 ft. wide and in poor condition. The proposed expansion will lengthen the runway by 700 ft. and repair the substrate.
A little homework would reveal that the Dash 8 and similar aircraft require more than 3100 feet for safe operations. Additional homework would reveal that private jets also require more than 3100 ft. for safe operations.
Further, in order to have a scheduled charter service with eight flights overhead daily, it would require the installation of an ILS (instrument landing system) at the Sechelt Airport. An ILS system is not part of, nor budgeted for the proposed expansion.
Currently, both the provincial and federal governments are making available funds for the proposed airport repairs/upgrades in partnership with the District of Sechelt.
Should the proposed runway repair and lengthening in fact be approved after public consultation, it would enhance runway safety, allow faster and less costly access to medivac services and much improved access to timely aid in the event of disaster.
Further, with runway improvements, the airport may attract small air operators that offer additional options to those wishing more options than the BC Ferries experience.
In any case, it’s safe to say Dash 8s and private jets won’t be coming to Sechelt airport anytime soon, expansion or not.
Richard Rudnisky, Gibsons