Obstacle Shuts Down Instrument Approaches at Penticton

Key instrument approaches for Penticton Regional Airport are at least temporarily unavailable after a Transport Canada audit resulted in the threshold of Runway 16 being displaced 470 feet. The audit flagged the ventilation equipment of a nearby sawmill as an obstacle hazard and issued a NOTAM shortening the runway from 6,000 feet to 5530. That, in turn, invalidated the approach data for both the ILS and RNAV approaches for the runway so use of those approaches is not authorized. The NOTAM is in effect until at least October 25. Transport Canada, which owns the airport, is reportedly working on a solution to the obstacle issue. The ventilation equipment has been in place for years but was only flagged in the most recent audit.

Like many B.C. airports, Penticton’s is aligned with a relatively narrow valley with terrain all around it. The approaches that are affected by the NOTAM are particularly useful in that they offer a straight-in path for incoming aircraft. Their absence has resulted in at least one WestJet Encore flight being unable to get in. “Although there are other instrument approaches in Penticton, those approaches require us to maneuver or circle in the valley which we are unable to do in poor weather or at night for safety reasons,” WestJet spokeswoman Morgan Bell told Global News.