The Northern Rockies Regional Airport is getting a major facelift, thanks to $4.3 million in funding from the Federal government, the Alaska Highway News has learned.
The money will go towards two different projects. One grant will help fix the east side of the tarmac, which had earlier been condemned. The rest of the money will go towards extending the apron – the area where planes sit near the gates – and to purchase a tug to move planes around the airport more efficiently.
The Northeast’s MP, Bob Zimmer, will meet with local officials in Fort Nelson this afternoon to make the official announcement.
According to Northern Rockies Mayor Bill Streeper, the changes will make the airport safer.
“We actually had a couple of slight incidents where a plane turned around a couple of years ago and actually blew the doors off a hangar, and we had one airplane clip a helicopter. With the revitalization of that part, it enabled us to have a lot safer airport,” he said.
The second grant will make a more efficient thoroughfare for planes to come through, Streeper said.
“We are going to be purchasing a small push-type tug, so the airplanes now can all pull straight in, or on a bit of a slant – everybody get off, and then we’ll push them back,” said Streeper. “Right now if we were to push them back, we would push them off the apron. This is going to extend that farther back.”
The funding is coming from Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP), which designates funding to help eligible airports finance capital projects geared towards safety improvements.