System upgrades complete at Prince Rupert airport

Crucial equipment used in aircraft landings has been modernized at the Prince Rupert Airport.

Crucial equipment used in aircraft landings has been modernized at the Prince Rupert Airport.

YPR’s Instrument Landing System (ILS), which allow pilots to land aircraft in conditions of reduced visibility, was replaced as part of a nation-wide upgrade by NAV Canada, the country’s air navigation services provider. The old ILS was more than 30 years old.

Both of the ILS’ components, the localizer and glide-path, were updated. The localizer shows pilots where the centre of the runway is and the glide-pass helps with the descent.

“It’s more modern and reliable in the sense that there will be fewer faults, and it’s easier to repair than the old equipment,” said Ron Singer, a spokesperson for NAV Canada.

The old ILS was turned off in late-August, with the airport operating without a system for the remainder of August and September.

While the ILS wasn’t operating, seven flights were diverted from YPR to the Northwest Regional Airport in Terrace, affecting 417 passengers.

Rick Reed, manager of YPR, said even if the ILS had been operational during September, there would’ve likely been missed flights.

“The fog was just too heavy … it was weather, and weather alone that diverted those flights,” he said, adding the weather prevented the upgrade from being complete sooner.

Final tests on the system finished on Oct. 2.