Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Authorities propose increasing use of Vancouver International’s northern runway

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Vancouver Sun

NavCanada officials said Wednesday they are examining a number of proposals involving increased takeoffs from the north runway at Vancouver International Airport as part of plans for improving efficiency there.

The proposals involve allowing between 20 and 45 per cent of departures to use the runway, those headed for northerly and westerly destinations. That would include jet and propeller aircraft headed for Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Orient, as well as Canadian cities such as Prince George and Edmonton.

The north runway, which is closer to houses than the main south runway, is currently restricted to use between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. except during emergencies or maintenance of other runways, or by the quietest of the modern aircraft. The vast majority of its use is for landings

“It is a two-runway airport,” added NavCanada service analyst Rob Bishop “At some point we must use both runways to full capacity.”

I used to live under the flight path of the north runway. Over five years ago but even then it was awful. And we lived off No 5 Road. At the airport end of Bridgeport it was much worse. And sure newer planes are quieter, but you would be surprised how long old planes keep going – and the hours that the older planes used for air freight keep. And if you ask why I would choose to live in such a place, you only have to look at the cost of housing and the shortage of available to places to rent, especially if you own a dog. BC still has not established the right of tenants to own animals (something Ontario did years ago). So putting up with aircraft noise was the price we had to pay to keep a member of our family.

Perhaps we need to utilise some of the data we have readily to hand to calculate what the benefit of more flights costs society at large. I find it hard to believe that the needs of a realtively small number of air travellers outweigh those of the population of north Richmond and south Vancouver.

Written by Stephen Rees

November 23, 2006 at 10:25 am

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