City Centre Airport runway closure may be put off for Indy

The closure of one of two runways at the City Centre Airport might be put off until the end of next July to allow the Indy car race and the Airfest show to go ahead, city manager Al Maurer says.

A city report indicates runway 16-34 is expected to be decommissioned by April 30, but this would require shutting the airport for up to four weeks in 2010 to make room for the Indy, which runs on the other runway.

“In order to keep the airport operational during the 2010 race time frame, a new track would be required. Discussions are underway to identify alternatives and their implications."

Count. Ron Hayter said the Alberta Aviation Museum is also concerned that with one runway closed there won’t be space for its annual Airfest, usually held near the end of June.

“If there’s not a change, then you would see the Airfest cancelled. It’s the main event celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan (to train Second World War pilots)," he said Wednesday.

“When we start downplaying the importance of aviation to the city, we’re doing a disservice to the history of this city and we also doing a disservice to the people involved in aviation."

But Maurer said there’s no reason to close the runway on April 30 and they’re thinking of keeping it open until July 31, which should accommodate both events.

The city is discussing the issue with Edmonton Airports, which operates the site, he said.

“I think it’s feasible … there’s one year left on the agreement for the Indy. If we work on a long-term agreement, could it be relocated to another location or on the airport land?" More at Edmonton Journal

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