Construction has been underway at the airport for months as part of a $28 million plan to expand its runway by 1,330 feet. But between July 30 and Nov. 15, a downed navigation system could disrupt air traffic, Dean Bouchard, the airport’s director of infrastructure said at an announcement Thursday (July 5) at the airport.
Planners chose the time period because of its low incidence of adverse weather conditions.
“We’re hopeful that we’ll go through this period without any issues, but, of course, the weather is unpredictable, and if we get into poor visibility, people who are travelling should just be aware that there may be some delays or cancellations,” said Peter Spurway, the airport’s vice president of corporate communications.
Without the navigation systems – single rows of 16 15-feet-high bright orange radio towers at either end of one runway – Spurway said pilots can’t land safely through dense fog, and would have to wait for weather to clear up or land elsewhere.
But he added once the additional 1,330 feet of runway is added in the fall, heavy cargo planes will have enough space to take off, which means the airport could help boost the local economy with increased international shipping and more clients in the nearby industrial park.
“We see this as a relatively short period of possible disruption weighed against what we think is a tremendous long-term benefit,” Spurway said.
Currently, as much as 80 per cent of Maritime exports, most notably seafood, has to be trucked to bigger airports in Montreal, Toronto or Boston before heading overseas because the runway at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport is too short.