No border services, no overnight ATS at some Okanagan and region airports

Changes to airport services

The Canadian Border Services Agency announced temporary suspension of service at many small ports of entry around Canada Tuesday including the Penticton Regional Airport where also, for the first time in decades, Air Traffic Services will not operate overnight. 

The CBSA  will no longer be providing its services at YYF for the foreseeable future.

No commercial flights from the airport's two major airlines, Air Canada and West Jet, service international destinations. But plenty of private planes and operators, sometimes from across the border, do use the airport.

Other nearby international airports, Kelowna and Kamloops, remain operating with CBSA.

Another change at YYF is that Air Traffic Services will be closing overnight. For decades, Penticton's ATS has operated overnight and taken over remote service for the Kelowna airport during its nightly closure.  

But starting Wednesday, ATS will not be available from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

"The temporary level of service change will allow Nav Canada to implement flexible staffing, reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for our operational units," reads a statement from Nav Canada. 

"These new measures greatly reduce the likelihood of a full unit closure and keep operators and the flying public safe through continued delivery of essential air navigation services."

The airport is, however, still open, and aircraft can land and take off.

YYF has pilot controlled runway lighting installed, and pilots will be responsible for listening in on a specific frequency before entering the zone or leaving, stating intentions and listening for other pilots in the area.

Nearby smaller airports like Oliver and Vernon already operate that way year-round. 

The Kamloops airport is also suspending overnight ATS service, as are 16 other airports across the country. 

The shutdown of ATS at those airports is scheduled to last until August 6, which could be moved up or extended by Nav Canada with approval by Transport Canada. 

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