With the ball in its court, Transport Canada doesn’t seem rushed to transfer operational control over the Penticton Airport.
“The Government of Canada continues to explore options concerning the long-term ownership/operation of Transport Canada-owned airports across the country,” Sau Sau Liu, Regional Communications Officer for Transport Canada, told the Western News in an email. “There has been no change with respect to the ownership of the Penticton airport.”
On May 15 the Western News reported on the standstill between the City of Penticton, Transport Canada, the RDOS and the Penticton Indian Band. After a similar transfer fell through in 1999, a renewed effort was seen late last year when Transport Canada expressed interest to the city.
“Transport Canada discussions regarding the Penticton Airport are exploratory only,” Liu said. “Transport Canada does not have a dedicated program to support the transfer of airports.”
Colleen Pennington, economic development officer for Penticton, reverberated the common sentiment that the airport is being underutilized.
Based on research out of Kelowna’s airport, Pennington said air travel to Penticton generates over $700,000 in direct and indirect spending for Penticton’s economy.
Before moving forward though, Pennington, along with Mayor Andrew Jakubeit, said it’s crucial to include the Penticton Indian Band in discussions with Transport Canada.
Chief Jonathan Kruger said he was happy to see Transport Canada reach out to the band a few months ago and hopes to see a stronger relationship in the future.
“They’re still studying what they can potentially do with it. That makes things a little bit easier for us, I don’t mind looking at or talking about things, but we have to be included in those decisions with whatever they do.”