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Winter weather affects local air service

Poor visibility affected flight movements into Penticton Regional Airport last weekend.
December 10, 2014 - 3:07 PM

PENTICTON - Low clouds and poor visibility contributed to disruptions in air service at Penticton Regional Airport last week.

Debra Williams, manager of corporate communications for Jazz Aviation, said some flights to and from Penticton “were impacted” by weather over the weekend.

"Weather in the area resulted in the cancellation of the last flights of the day into Penticton (Thu and Fri) which subsequently impacted the first flights out on the following mornings.  There was also a round trip cancelled due to weather on Saturday,” she said in an email.

“Fortunately, we were able to upgrade our aircraft on Sunday (Dec.7) to provide additional seats for passengers travelling to Vancouver,” she wrote in an email.

WestJet communications officer Robert Palmer said the airline has been unable to land in Penticton three times since it began flying into the city on October 26.

As the airline is new to the city, the company has visibility limits it imposed for itself in the interest of safety.

“NavCan sets minimum limits, but as a new operator with limited experience flying into Penticton, we have temporarily set our own more conservative limits than those imposed by NavCan,” he said.

The limits imposed by NavCan for commercial air traffic landing at Penticton require 1,630 feet of vertical visibility, or ceiling, and three nautical miles of horizontal visibility.

“Safety will always be our top priority,” he said.

Palmer also noted that the company’s conservative limits are also based on the fact there are no precision approaches currently available at Penticton.

“For a precision approach, an airport must be able to convey to an aircraft  three critical pieces of information: flight line, glide path and distance,” he said. “Penticton has two of the three, but all three are required for a precision approach."

Palmer said WestJet was currently looking for approval from Transport Canada for a customized approach which they hoped to have in place before the end of winter.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2014

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