In 2019, the Penticton Airport runway was shortened to accommodate an exhaust chimney at the neighbouring mill. This had many flights unable to land. Transport Canada has come up with a short term fix. (Western News file photo)

Interim fix for Penticton’s shortened runway

Several flights were unable to land last year

Transport Canada says it has provided an interim solution to the problems created with a shortened runway at Penticton Regional Airport.

Now that Air Canada and Westjet flights have resumed flying out of Penticton Airport, Transport Canada says it has provided the airlines with a GPS instrument that helps with landing on shortened runways.

Last year, frequent flyers expressed their frustrations with flights being turned around or cancelled all together. Some of those flights couldn’t land because of a low ceiling or bad weather. But in 2019, some flights would come into Penticton, fly over the airport, only to turn around back to Vancouver or Calgary, even in good visibility.

READ MORE: Flights not able to land at Penticton Airport

The runway was shortened by 470 feet because of an obstacle at the north end of the runway, a 70-foot high exhaust system at Greenwood Forest Products mill which Transport Canada advised could affect specific navigational aids that could cause problems for some flights at night or in poor weather.

READ MORE: Shortened runway may impact flights, says Transport Canada

Last October, several flights flew in Penticton, only to turn around to Vancouver and Calgary. Some of those were because of the shortened runway strip. In one situation, passengers were left stranded at the Calgary airport overnight.

In September, 2019, Transport Canada warned that night flights may be impacted by the shortened runway.

At the time, Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki said he shares residents’ concerns about this and was going to have his staff work with the Greenwood Forest Products mill. When city staff were asked, the Western News was directed to Transport Canada.

“The useable runway length remains reduced while the department reviews several long term options regarding this issue. In the interim, Transport Canada has worked closely with NAV Canada to find solutions to resolve the issue in the short and long term,” Sau Liu, senior communication advisor for Transport Canada told the Western News this week.

“We provided information for a new GPS instrument approach that was designed for the reduced useable runway length. This approach was put into operation on Dec. 5, 2019. Since implementing this new approach and publishing departure procedures last year, there have been no further operational impacts to flights,” said Liu.

Penticton Airport is currently wrapping up an extensive renovation to the airport terminal building. In recent years, the airport saw annual passenger traffic increases of four to five per cent, attracting more than 160,000 travellers last year. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Air Canada and WestJet flights have resumed their direct flights to Vancouver and Calgary.

“So many within Penticton and the region depend on these flights to connect for business or to visit friends and family,” said Vassilaki. “We know this has been a tough year for air travel and this is a great opportunity to remind residents about the many ways the airport benefits them.”

The Penticton Airport has had a loss of revenue due to the reduced number of scheduled commercial flights since mid-March 2020, confirmed Transport Canada.

The city of Penticton is looking to attract more travellers through the airport by improving the airport’s website. As part of this process, the city is asking for feedback on how the current website can be improved.

“The goal of this revised website is not only to ensure travellers have access to up-to-date information, but to help place Penticton Airport on the radar for anyone seeking to fly in or out of the Okanagan,” said Blake Laven, Penticton’s director of development services Blake Laven.

The airport is also looking for a food services provider within its newly renovated terminal. Any business that is interested should contact YYF directly.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gas prices haven’t dropped below a dollar a litre since February this year. (Danah Phillips photo)
Gas prices haven’t dropped below a dollar a litre since February this year. (File)
No Black Friday deals for gas prices

You may want to hold off on refilling your tank if you can

Dentice di Frasso, a member of Italian nobility, once owned land in Summerland. (Contributed)
Italian nobility family once lived in Summerland

Dentice di Frasso and his family owned land in the Prairie Valley area

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

Summerland residents have been receiving a telephone scam with the number showing as the telephone number of the local RCMP detachment. (Black Press Media files)
Summerland RCMP telephone number spoofed in scam calls

Number used in scam attempts from tax agency

Darrell RIchards and his Harley Davidson Streetglide in front of Discovery House in Penticton on Nov. 5. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton biker still in running to win custom chopper competition

Darrell Richards is sitting in first in the final round of the group stage

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

(Village of Lumby photo)
Mysterious, loud ‘boom’ shakes North Okanagan residents

Village staff, Earthquakes Canada aren’t sure what caused the explosion-like sound

Clarence Fulton students collect cash and non-perishable food donations for families in need in their community Friday, Nov. 27. (Jennifer Smith  - Morning Star)
North Okanagan students collect food for families in need

Annual event to support nine school families this year

Take a break from the slopes to discover the rich culture and diversity of Vernon. Michelle Beaudry photo, courtesy Tourism Vernon.
Tourism Vernon could see 40% cut to budget due to COVID-19

New approach to help residents and visitors activate their adventures

Follow public health recommendations, says Interior Health as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Revelstoke. (Image courtesy CDC)
Revelstoke positive COVID cases grows to 29

Interior Health announced a cluster in the community on Nov. 26

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Penticton law courts
Osoyoos child sex offender in court

Shawn Titus, 37, is charged with possession of child porn

Most Read