An official speaking for the Victoria Airport Authority said Victoria International Airport (YYJ) is not about to lose designation as an ‘international’ airport as defined by an international organization.
Rod Hunchak, director of business development and community relations for the Victoria Airport Authority, confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the airport does not appear among a list of 13 Canadian airports currently designated as international.
But this absence appears to be temporary and does not impact the airport’s ability to handle international flights.
“The short answer is no – we’re not about to lose our international status but I’ll give you a better response afterwards,” said Hunchak Tuesday morning after an advisory circular signed by Félix Meunier, director of standards for civil aviation with Transport Canada, made the rounds through media.
The advisory dated Jan. 26 is described as a document guiding airports seeking ‘international’ designation in accordance with all applicable domestic and international requirements. The document does not offer any rationale for not including YYJ and the Peninsula News Review has reached out to Transport Canada for comment.
Hunchak said later that the airport authority has been aware of the circular for some time, adding the authority is working with Transport Canada to get a better standing of the circular’s intent.
“Our additional understanding is that Transport Canada had enough information from those 13 airports that are included to actually designate them,” he said. “There are a lot of other airports in Canada, which receive international flights — and Victoria is included in that — not on the list.”
Hunchak said airports not initially found on the list have until June 30 to submit a request for designation. “As long as we identify that we meet the criteria, we would continue to be identified in these aeronautical publications as an international airport, according to the ICAO definition.”
These criteria concern the presence of certain services (like customs among others) — which the airport has, said Hunchak.
The document defines an international airport as an airport of “entry and departure for international commercial air traffic, where the formalities incident to customs, immigration, public health, animal and plant quarantine and similar procedures are carried out.”
Hunchak said earlier the airport is currently compiling the necessary documents to submit them by June 30.
While Victoria International Airport is not among the four designated Canadian airports handling international flights, the airport has had international and trans-border flights for many years, said Hunchak. “We continue to do so,” he said.
In the past, the airport has offered regularly scheduled flights to the United States as well as seasonal flights to Mexico, which Hunchak hopes will return once airlines have announced their schedules.
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