The Carlyle Airport Commission- whose members include The Town of Carlyle, the R.M. Of Moose Mountain and the Carlyle Flying Club- have both a proposal and a plan to lengthen the town's airport runway to 5,000 feet from its current 3,153 feet. This allows the runway to accommodate jet aircraft with a 75-foot wingspan, granting the Ted Brady Municipal Airport the designation of regional airport, as well as bringing added economic, social and medical benefits to the area, according to Blair Andrew, co-chair of the Carlyle Airport Commission.
“A 75-foot wingspan is a pretty big, small aircraft,” says Andrew. “A decent-sized business class aircraft, like a Citation or a King Air.”
Expanding the current 3,153 ft. asphalt runway so that it could accommodate jet aircraft would be accomplished largely by purchasing land from a private landowner. This would add 1,500 feet to the current runway to the west. The first of two phases of construction is already underway. A 500-foot extension is currently being built on donated land and will house a weather station. During these two phases of development, lighting upgrades and improved GPS will also be added.
Andrew says that Carlyle's airport is already fulfilling most of the functions of a regional airport. “Right now, Estevan's runway is 5,000 feet and Virden's is 4,000 feet. I've had people tell me how ideally-situated Carlyle's airport is. Hotels, a restaurant, cars and shopping are all within walking distance. Most regional airports are a few miles out of town, and often, pilots and passengers are stuck waiting for a taxi that may or may not come.”
“When we didn't have jet fuel available, we'd have planes that would drop off their passengers here and everything they could want or need was in Carlyle, close to the runway. But the pilot would have to fly into Estevan, fuel up and then come back to Carlyle. Now we have jet fuel at the airport and if we expand the runway to a full 5,000 feet, then Carlyle airport will be closer to becoming a regional airport.”
Andrew says that a longer runway and increased airport capacity will bring a myriad of benefits to the area, economic and otherwise.
“Carlyle is already a regional transport hub. There are already big demands on it. Local and visiting corporations and commercial air services use it. Agribusiness uses it and private aviators use it. With a slightly expanded runway, places like the Bear Claw Casino could potentially bring in even more entertainment. Families could fly in for weekends during vacation time as well.”
“In the GA (General Aviation) world, Carlyle is a good set-up,” says Andrew.
“Besides the obvious economic drivers, one of the biggest benefits to the area would be that Saskatchewan Air Ambulance-both adult and pediatric flights-could fly into the area,” says Andrew adding that STARS and Saskatchewan Air Ambulance have different functions.
“STARS will land where you are and get you to the hospital,” says Andrew. “STARS has a limited range for fuel capacity. Saskatchewan Air Ambulance is a fully-equipped ambulance with a doctor and a nurse on board. If it is a medical emergency and a medical necessity, the patient is getting to the hospital faster and not bouncing around on the highway.”
“We had an accident in the spring that required Sask. Air Ambulance and the patients had to be transported to Estevan in order to be flown to hospital,” adds Andrew.
Currently, $275,000 of project funding is completely covered by the corporate sector and provincial programs.
“A regional airport builds a solid foundation for future growth in southeast Saskatchewan,” says Andrew. “There are a few certified airports in Saskatchewan; Regina's one. When they can't get here, they just go to other places, like Brandon or Estevan.”
Source: Carlyle Observer