The Region of Waterloo International Airport is getting its piece of the pie – just over $100,000 – as Transport Canada doles out support to smaller airports.
The fund, just under $42 million in total, is earmarked by Transport Canada under the Airport Capital Assistance Program (ACAP).
For Waterloo Region, this means $104,935 for the replacement of the precision approach path indicator, or PAPI, on runway 08.
Airport general manager Chris Wood says it is a project that has been on the books for a while, and fulfills the requirements of the ACAP.
“(The lights) direct pilots so they can guide themselves to the runway. There are a few lights on the runway, but these four are all about safety and they are going to be LEDs. It was something that we have been looking to do anyways,” he said.
The project is getting underway now, with preliminary plans in the works.
“We should have everything done by the winter,” said Wood. “We should have everything installed by around October, November-ish. Our consultants are working on the design right now.”
Using LED lights instead of what is currently directing pilots will save the airport plenty of money in electricity, even with just four new lights.
“The lights are going to have that quality that makes them much brighter and better. The power savings is phenomenal,” explained Wood. “There is a seven-year buy back on the electricity consumption, so the lights will pay for themselves in seven years.”
Wood says the replacement of the PAPI lights with LED bulbs is a new venture for airports across the country. They didn’t want to be the first.
“Now, there are other airports that have done it and we have talked to them and said, ‘do you think it’s worth it?’ Now we know it is, and we are at a point now where they need to be replaced,” he said.
The airport applied for the money over a year ago. Wood says there is a long list of others that will be receiving funding from ACAP.
“It takes quite a while to get through their paperwork, and there are many other airports that are on their lists. All the airports in Canada are sharing the $41.7 million for safety upgrades,” he said, adding the process was a bit different this time around. “I have never seen them do this the way they did this time, though, with a long list released all at once.”
Around Ontario, airports in Cat Lake, Fort Severn, Kenora, North Bay, Ogoki Post, Peawanuck, Red Lake, Sarnia, Sudbury, Wapakeka and Webequie will also be receiving grants from the ACAP for everything from full replacement of airfield electical systems to new lighting to purchasing de-icer.