“We have reached the threshold set by Transport Canada for the amount of passengers through a facility that requires on-site fire protection,” says Whalley.
Whalley adds, “So the configuration would be that we would become the first responders at North Peace Regional Airport, and if assistance is required, then our backup would be the City of Fort St. John.”
Whalley says his best guess as to when the on-site fire services will be in place is within the next 18 months.
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There was a time when the local airport was considered one of only three B.C. airports – the others in Vancouver and Abbotsford – with runway length to accommodate jumbo jets, but Walley says expansion within the past decade has now given Prince George, among others, a longer runway.
“They have an 11,500 foot runway and we’re only approximately 7,000 feet.”
“We are rated for a certain class of aircraft, so we can run up to a 737-700 without conflict to our configuration,” Whalley goes on to explain. “In an emergency situation, we are capable of handling up to a 747.”
Walley says a couple other B.C. airports have expanded their runway over the years, but in the north, the Peace Regional Airport has the largest.