Christmas has come early for pilots at Flagstaff Regional Airport.

A new energy-efficient runway lighting system is now in place and fully operational at the Flagstaff County-owned airport.

“I asked the pilots on Saturday and the first word was ‘excellent,’” says Shelley Wakefield, secretary for the Iron Creek Flying Club-COPA 157, which operates out of the airport. “It looks like Christmas when they are on. Thanks, from the flyers.”

The new lighting system addresses an urgent infrastructure need at the municipal aerodrome, replacing a 35-year-old lighting system that had become worn over time. In fact, wiring was starting to fail along certain segments of the runway.

The new system is expected to have a lifespan of more than 50 years.

Killam-based Banjo Electric Ltd., was awarded the installation contract after submitting a project bid of $94,370.35. The project, which came in under budget, is funded on a cost-share basis. The Province of Alberta is funding 75% of the cost through the Community Airport Component (CAP) of its Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP). The remaining 25% is funded through Flagstaff County’s airport reserves.

The new runway lighting system offers several far-reaching benefits to the region. Among them are:

  • Safety benefits – Municipal airports play a critical role in supporting societal needs, such as health care and policing. This new lighting system allows for air medevacs and STARS to better access our regional airport in all weather conditions to respond to accidents, illnesses and other emergencies. This is critical due to our distance from major medical facilities.
  • Environmental benefits – Upgrading the current lighting to LED runway lighting will save approximately 80% of our current energy costs due to reduced consumption of power. Along with the energy savings, LED lighting has a much longer lifespan. LED lighting will provide 50,000 hours as compared to 3,000 hours of light for the previous lighting system.
  • Economic benefits – Currently, the Flagstaff Regional Airport offers cardlock fuel services and has an aircraft maintenance engineer providing on-site maintenance for all aircraft. The airport also has a courtesy vehicle available for visiting pilots to go and explore the Flagstaff Region. Upgrading to LED lighting improves visibility and accessibility to air traffic year-round, potentially enticing even more recreational pilots to visit our region and communities.

Installation of the LED lights was completed in late November.