Okotoks Air Ranch: Why Have We Suspended Airport Operations?

Okotoks Air Ranch: Why Have We Suspended Airport Operations?

To comply with regulations that govern an airport in a “built up” area, we must demonstrate more rigorous compliance with Transport Canada’s regulations for public safety.

As a certified airport, the airport operator must meet standard levels similar to other certified airports in Canada such as YYC which has 10,000 movements compared with recent CFX2 activities, at 6 movements per day.

Our Airport Management Team (3 part-time staff and pilot volunteers) has worked diligently to maintain a safe operational airport. However a recent inspection by Transport Canada was eye opening and revealed a number of gaps between our day-to-day operations and actions and the stringent requirements and commitments to safety and risk management.

We must now make significant changes to continue our certification. In order to meet these new requirements and commitments within Canadian Air Regulations (CAR 302), the Okotoks Air Ranch General Partner Inc. will require considerable financial resources and time.

Our capital and operating budgets, currently $130,000 annually, will have to increase three to five times that amount in order to meet the operating requirements.

In order for the certificate holder (Okotoks Air Ranch General Partner Inc.) to meet these obligations, financial resources will have to be found and more time to perform changes will be needed.

A Voluntary Suspension

Airport management has been working with the Transport Ministry and has structured a voluntary suspension of the airport operating certificate for an initial period up to 180 days.

The certificate holder will be organizing and coordinating the orderly departure of aircraft operators that are currently using CFX2 as a home base. Pilots have been notified that the airport operations have been closed, on a temporary basis, as of April 18th, 2016 @ 1800 hours.

What’s Next?

We will be engaging in consultations with our various stakeholders including the Town of Okotoks over the coming months to assess options for the future of this important landmark in our community.

During the voluntary suspension the certificate holder will identify key stakeholders and invite them to participate in facilitated discussions regarding: 

  • The requirements of operating the Airport
  • The required revisions to existing documentation and manuals
  • Keeping the airport secure 
  • The possible reorganization of the certificate holder to become a non-profit organization 
  • New sources of grants and funding 
  • The creation of a new operating structure 
  • Increased staffing required to meet regulatory obligations of Transport Canada 
  • A regional airport revitalization
  • If not an airport, what else?

Source: Okotoks Air Ranch Airport