Airport Activity

Busy Athabasca airstrip a valuable local resource

Even though the Athabasca Regional Airport is out of sight and out of mind for many Athabasca and area residents, it remains a very busy little airstrip, serving a variety of aircraft from small, single engine models, to executive jets, Twin Otters and helicopters.

Located about five km east of Athabasca, the airport recorded 1,536 commercial and 78 private landings in 2005. In 2004, there were 1,599 commercial and 78 private landings at the airport.

By contrast, there were 1,361 total landings in 2000 and 477 total landings in 1999.

Responding to an invitation from the Athabasca Regional Airport Board, Dwayne McLean, pilot and manager of Alberta Central Airways Ltd Athabasca Operations, presented an insightful report to the Athabasca Joint Council on June 13.

Dwayne reported that the bulk of airport traffic is business oriented, serving people, gas plants, the oil field and others. Flights range from executive and corporate to flights for camp crews.

Crews, equipment and freight go through the airport on a daily basis and there are also many corporate flights that bring recreational visitors to the area.

With 20-plus years of experience as a pilot, Dwayne is impressed with the maintenance and use of the Athabasca airport. He noted that it is well looked after, something that is very important for business.

GPS a definite enhancement

In 2004, the County of Athabasca and Town of Athabasca Regional Airport Board purchased and installed a global positioning system at both ends of the airport runway at a cost of more than $40,000.

In his report to the Joint Council, Dwayne indicated that having the GPS has helped make the airport much more accessible in poor weather conditions.

Value of airport services recognized

Athabasca Town Councillor George Hawryluk recognizes the local airport as a valuable resource in the community.

“As a member of the Athabasca Regional Airport Board, I have learned that the airport plays an important role in the economic growth of Athabasca and the area,” says Councillor Hawryluk. “It provides a quick and efficient transportation alternative for a number of businesses and their executives who frequently use the facility to visit our area and conduct business here.

“Working crews, emergency services, industrial equipment and freight companies regularly use the airport to effectively service the industries and businesses in and around Athabasca, while corporate businesses often fly their clients in and entertain them at the Athabasca Golf Course.”

The airport is staffed 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. The airstrip is 4,000 feet in length and is accessible to aircraft 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Pilots can check for details in their flight supplement booklet.

For additional information, contact Brian Brost, Administrator for the Athabasca Regional Airport, at 675-2273.

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