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Plane problems promote community cooperation

What could have been an embarrassing irony became a regional success story displaying community collaboration during last weeks’ grand opening of the Trail Air Terminal on Nov. 29 (see full story at http://trailchampion.com/news/celebrating-new-trail-airport-terminal-building-46086#.Wil0TXlry1s ).

Despite sometimes contentious competition between the Trail and Castlegar airports, the two often work in concert to ensure the success of regional air traffic, and Thursday’s event was no exception.

A Pacific Coastal flight bearing dignitaries en route to the grand opening was unable to land in Trail the morning of the event, and was rerouted to Castlegar’s West Kootenay Regional Airport, where a Pacific Coastal shuttle met the passengers and bused them to Trail (an afternoon flight successfully landed in Trail the same day).

Castlegar airport manager Gerry Rempel said this kind of cooperation is not unusual.

“This sort of situation is generally a weather-related concern,” he said. “Pacific Coastal has a shuttle bus – the system works well.

“We’re a public airport, and we’re more than happy to help out where we can,” he said, adding what’s good for any community in the region is good for everyone concerned.

Kevin Jolly, Trail city councillor and chair of the city’s airport steering committee, concurred.

“That’s fairly common – it’s one of the advantages of having two airports here,” he said, adding any infrastructure that enhances accessibility to and from our region should be celebrated by all our communities.

Ultimately, the event was a resounding success, he added.

“There were roughly 250 people, which was quite a bit more than we anticipated,” he said. “But there was room for everybody, and it was a really good time.”

He underlined the significance of the undertaking, which he said has been in the works for 15 years, and saw almost $12 million invested over the course of the past four years.