The future of an airport named for one of Canada’s most famous pilots could be determined in an online open house scheduled for Nov. 25. Sarnia’s Chris Hadfield Airport is suffering financial difficulties since scheduled carriers abandoned it and the city council will assess the feedback on Dec. 7. An economic development report released in September recommended the city sell the airport because it’s now losing money without commercial airline service. Operation of the airport is contracted to Scottsdale Aviation until 2027 and while the original contract leased the facility to the company for $1 a year, Scottsdale now wants $40,000 a month to keep it open.
The company suggested the city spend the money for two years until the pandemic ends and airlines might consider coming back. At least one city councillor is in favour of keeping the facility open and in city hands. Margaret Bird wrote the local newspaper saying the airport is an important economic asset that facilitates business even if it loses money itself. “Time is of the essence,” Bird said. “Please support our domestic economy, and the future of many generations to come, by voting to enhance and continue the much-needed services of the Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport.”