Local politician takes legislative approach to save air traffic control in Windsor

·1 min read

Windsor West MP Brian Masse is introducing changes to the federal Aeronautics Act to give the transport minister power to save air traffic controllers at Windsor Airport (YQG).

The positions are in jeopardy because NAV Canada is studying them to see if they are necessary.

The current legislation prevents transport minister Marc Garneau from intervening and taking Windsor off the study.

"The legislation is based upon an old model. This gives the minister power. So if he feels confined right now, he no longer has to stick to that," Masse said.

Masse held an online news conference Friday with area stakeholders including the manager of the Windsor Flying Club, Richard Bradwell, who says traffic controllers are needed to avoid collisions in the busy Detroit airspace.

"Detroit City [airport] back in the mid 70's. The scene of a mid-air collision. A very tragic case. Four people killed. A very serious incident. And we have a piece of airspace today called the Riverside descent area which is very actively managed by the air traffic controllers here in Windsor to make sure that never happens again," said Bradwell.

Besides the safety concerns, local authorities fear if the airport becomes uncontrolled, airlines flying in and out will see increases in their insurance rates, forcing them to question the viability of flying in the region.

In 2019, YQG had its highest ever passenger volume year with more than 383,000 travellers. The airport has gone from losing money for the city to paying a dividend of $1 million in 2019.

Authorities fear the airport will decline without the controllers and Windsor's overall economy will suffer as well.

Masse believes the amendments to the Aeronautics Act can be made in about a month.