Sault airport tower to remain in operation
The air traffic control tower at the Sault Ste. Marie Airport will remain in operation. The tower, along with others across Canada, had been under a service review by NAV Canada. (File)
SAULT STE. MARIE -- The air traffic control tower at the Sault Ste. Marie Airport will remain in operation. The tower, along with others across Canada, had been under a service review by NAV Canada.
That review is still ongoing, despite the decision to keep the tower open.
Sault Airport officials are breathing a sigh of relief at NAV Canada's decision to maintain air traffic control services, especially since passenger totals at the airport are down nearly 90 per cent year-over-year.
"It is one less thing to worry about," said airport CEO Terry Bos. "We've seen numbers with aircraft movements, especially with the college in December. Not that you make a lot of money off aircraft movements, but the more movements, the better."
Bos said the decision is the result of a collaborative effort among all cities and airports that were under review.
"We'd actually worked together with a number of the other airports and cities that were involved in the tower reviews, and it's great news that they're actually not going to close any of the towers," he said.
NAV Canada said there was overwhelming support to maintain air traffic control services.
"We reached out to airports, we reached out to airlines, local officials and others," said Rebecca Hickey, a senior manager at NAV Canada. "We heard loud and clear from our stakeholders that they were looking for stability when it came to air traffic control services."
However, NAV Canada's service review is not quite finished.
"We're still examining whether there are efficiencies that could be made," said Hickey. "For example, adjusting the hours of the air traffic control tower. That study is still ongoing."