Pilot speaks out about council’s decision regarding sale of airport

Letter to editor addresses concerns about Rimbey's airport

  • Tue Nov 8th, 2016 6:00pm
  • News

Dear Editor,

Re: Town Votes to Keep Airport

If I may submit to your readership the future expectations the airport group had hoped the present town council would recognize:
 Firstly, I am speaking on behalf of four dedicated aviation supporters who (I must make this perfectly clear:  DO NOT want to own the airport.)

Our proposal is to have the airport own itself; a non-profit entity that makes all decisions to support the long-term health of the airport. Total commitment of every dollar to go into operating and improvement budgets.

The excellent design of this airport and the very predictable direction that General Aviation in Alberta is going assures the success of our 25-year plan.

We have ( well, had) three hangar proposals already!

So why is it that the airport has not seen any growth whatsoever in 15 + years?

Quite simply aviation facilities (i.e. hangars, maintenance shops, refueling facilities etc.) are very, very expensive.

Not one of many potential investors has gotten past the enquiries stage.

Over the years they have all concluded that the present management and unstable future of the airport does not come close to meeting their investment risk standards.

There is little point in belaboring past errors or pointing fingers.

The focus here is that the town itself must relinquish ownership of this potentially wonderful and self-sufficient facility or it will continue its downhill slide.

Fact: Airports do not make money.

Almost all operate with a deficit. 
 Very few break even. Putting a $125 thousand dollar price tag on it puts the facility in an unrecoverable hole of servicing that debt and its profit expectations before operating expenses let alone improvements can be addressed.

The entire community should have the chance to be pleased with their publicly licensed airport and the benefits a ‘full house’ brings and not have to shake their heads when the subject comes up.

Thanks to all of you who have given us your support and enthusiasm.

Pete Couchman, Paul Kusch, Wayne Danser and Gerald Ernst