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Alaska Flying

Whitehorse Rwy 19 Closure


I posted this in the Western Canada forum, but thought this might be useful information for anyone transiting through Whitehorse on the way to/from Alaska. Some potentially serious consequences from a local airport management's unilateral and un-consulted decision!


Jean-Michel Sauve
Director, COPA Yukon Chapter - Flight 106

September 16, 2014

Yukon Government
Minister of Highway and Public Works
Honorable Wade Istchenko

Closure of Runway 19 at the Whitehorse Airport 

Dear Mr. Istchenko
I write to you in regards to an alarming matter that has come to light, not through an official announcement from the government or airport authority, but rather through word of mouth from commercial operators on the field.

In early September, COPA Flight 106 Yukon Chapter received a complaint from a commercial operator stating that they were refused landing on Runway 19 at the Whitehorse Airport. In fact, the commercial operator requested landing on Runway 19 due to safety concerns with crosswind but was refused such by the control tower. The operator believed that the runway closure was due to the current construction. Further investigation revealed that the control tower had been instructed by airport authorities that Runway 19 had been officially closed and not to allow landing.

COPA Yukon and other commercial operators have asked airport authorities why runway 19 was closed but to date have not received a solid answer. 
Over the past months, one of our directors attended several airport construction meetings and was assured that the closing of Runway 19 was temporary and only due to the resurfacing of the parallel runway. Now we learn that the closure of Runway 19 supposedly is permanent and happened without notification to all parties involved ie: private and commercial operators.

The essence of an airport is to offer properly maintained runways available for safe operations. It is true that Runway 19 is not used that frequently, but this completely misses the point. Runway 19 is not needed every day, but when it is needed, it is essential to safe operation for the vast majority of aircraft operating into the airport, especially those with a single engine and conventional gear up to about 6000lbs gross weight. The most typical crosswind at Whitehorse is from the southwest at speeds well above 10 knots. Such winds are virtually a direct crosswind for aircrafts using Runways 14-32. Aircrafts being affected by this crosswind include many commercially operated aircraft and every private aircraft based at Whitehorse.

On behalf of COPA Yukon and its members, as well as Alkan Air, Alpine Aviation, Nomad Air, Tintina Air and all other users of the Whitehorse Airport, we urge you to review your decision on closing Runway 19.

Closure of Runway 19 poses severe concerns for serious damage to aircraft, injuries and death to crews and passengers. Therefore, COPA Yukon and its partners are requesting;

A meeting with the minister of Highways and Public Works at the earliest convenience
An immediate cessation of all development interfering with the use of 
Runway 19 until this issue is resolved 
The immediate reopening and maintenance of Runway 19 for landing purposes

For the board and members of COPA Yukon / Flight 106

Christoph Altherr

CC: YTG Aviation Branch, Airport Manager Whitehorse, 
Canadian Owner and Pilots Association,

Minister Istchenko's email address:

'77 A185F on wheels and Found Bush Hawk XP on amphibs in the family hangar
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