Airport reno coming

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Plans to begin construction of the $9.5-million runway expansion at Red Deer Airport are moving forward.

“(A call for) tenders has been issued, it closes March 4 and from there we will award the tender, said RJ Steenstra, CEO of Red Deer Regional Airport Authority. “We’re hoping construction begins April 12.”

Completion of the construction is expected by Sept. 16, 2016 he noted.

“The primary project is the runway extension — we’re adding 2,000 feet to runway 1634. That is the major project this summer,” he added.

On March 1, Red Deer County approved second and third reading of a bylaw to loan Red Deer Regional Airport Authority $300,000 for another separate summer project noted Steenstra.

“That (money) is to build a new taxiway for Montair Aviation which is going to join the airport community in the spring,” said Steenstra, adding that the flight training company located in Pitt Meadows, B.C., will be expanding training facilities and operations here in Alberta.

“They’ve selected Red Deer Airport as a second location base for their operations.”

They will welcome 100 pilot cadets later this summer who will be completing their commercial pilot licence training.

“Primarily they’re going to be Chinese pilot cadets. They’re going to be leasing one of the barracks buildings, a former military building, and a full commercial kitchen in Hangar 6,” said Steenstra.

“We just need to provide them with better access to the primary (airport) apron,” he added. “That ($300,000) loan from the county that was approved (March 1) will provide us with the funds necessary to build that taxiway.”

For now, the taxiway will be used by Montair Aviation, however, it is also part of the bigger picture and part of the expansion at Red Deer Airport said Steenstra.

“For now it will be primarily used for Montair, but what it also does is get us another step forward into our master planning road map which will open up that field for future development potentially,” he said, noting that the taxiway is expected to be completed by the end of June.

The Red Deer Regional Airport Authority is holding its annual meeting this May in Red Deer noted Steenstra, at which time it will make an announcement and provide a full update on the airport expansion and its progress.

With plans moving forward and falling into place, Steenstra said he is pleased with the development of things thus far, and the support he’s received from contributing partners.

“We have terrific support from the county of Red Deer. They’re very supportive of our future plans,” said Steenstra. “It’s just another big step forward for this airport and we’re very excited to see it come to fruition.”

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Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean is a reporter with the Innisfail Province, joining the newspaper in 2013. She covers Penhold municipal politics, news and community events as well as sports in and around the town as well as in Innisfail.