Following a two-year pandemic slowdown, the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport in south Ontario is proposing an extension to the current 5,000-foot long runway and associated taxiway, expansion of ramp space, construction of two additional corporate aircraft hangars, an on-site cafe, and scheduled air service to Toronto.
In a report presented recently to the city council, airport manager Marion Smith outlined the proposed changes and provided the positive impact the airport has on the community. In addition to accommodating primarily personal, business, and charter flights, Smith said the airport provides residents with access to medical airlifts through companies such as Ornge, as well as charity organizations, such as Hope Air.
Before the pandemic, aircraft movements were more than 6,000 annually for the three years leading up to 2020, peaking in 2018 with 6,727. That dropped to 4,001 in 2020 but rebounded to 5,536 last year. Also last year, the Chatham-Kent council inked a $1.3 million, five-year deal with Z3 Aviation to continue as the contractor that operates the airport and provides FBO services.
Smith said organizers are hoping to launch a flight school this year and are presently looking for an aircraft to use in the program.