The Red Deer Airport Authority received almost $1.6 million from the City of Red Deer — mostly to refurbish a secondary landing strip that’s used in bad weather.
City councillors heard that a major overhaul is needed of an existing, aging runway that runs in a more-or-less east-west direction.
Airport CEO Graham Ingham said this strip is mostly used for landings by flight training students, as well as professional pilots when high winds or other extreme weather conditions make using the airport’s main north-south runway difficult.
Ingham is pleased the city’s portion of the needed project funding was approved as part of Red Deer’s 2020 capital budget.
The approved sum also includes some smaller allotments needed for the purchase of an airport lawnmower and other equipment.
The same $1.6 million is also being requested by the airport authority of Red Deer County council.
If the county’s half of funding comes through, Ingham hopes to start on the runway maintenance project in May, and he anticipates it will be a six- to eight-week job.
Ingham doesn’t expect airport takeoffs and landings to be impacted in the interim — unless extreme weather makes landing on the north-south runway perilous, in which case planes would have to be sent to other airports.
The airport authority is trying to be more financially independent from the city and county. A company was hired earlier this year to market available space on the airport grounds to businesses interested in leasing it.
Ingham said a professional video was made to be presented to interested companies. He added “strong interest” is anticipated.