Bogus assertions deserved an aborted take-off

Wade Istchenko, MLA for Kluane

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Monday, May 10, 2013
by Wade Istchenko, Minister of Highways & Public Works

Having seen Yukon government employees clearing runways at -30C, I must take offense to recent assertions by Opposition members of the Legislative Assembly that there have been issues related to employee negligence and public safety at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport.

I find it irresponsible to try to score political points at the expense of the reputation of members of the public service.

To be clear, we are not aware of any complaints from industry, regulators or citizens as a result of runway conditions. Neither have there been any delays as a result of our international airport’s runways.

Transport Canada, the federal authority whose safety standards Yukon’s airport must and does comply with, keeps records of any incidents of concern and their databases do not list any incidents of overruns, near misses, maintenance issues or any other runway-related safety concerns.

To ensure that Whitehorse airport’s runways comply with the runway friction index – a measurement system used to ensure that runways provide the appropriate amount of friction for aircraft on their approach – surfaces are assessed at least every eight hours in icy or snowy conditions. They are assessed more often when conditions are changing.

Investments in wireless technology are also being made that will further improve monitoring efforts by sending up-to-date information directly to carriers.

I would like thank the members of the public service at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport for their continued dedication to service in keeping our runways clear and our travelers safe.

Your efforts are appreciated.

Sincerely,

Wade Istchenko
Minister of Highways and Public Works
Government of Yukon