Magdalen Islands mayor renews 25-year effort to extend airport runway

A 25-year project to extend the landing strip at the Magdalen Islands airport has been renewed after a recent emergency medical landing failure and the tragic death of former politician and journalist Jean Lapierre.

20% of Air Canada flights cancelled every year during poor weather due to short runway

Recent events, like the fatal plane crash two kilometres away from the Magdalen Islands airport that killed journalist Jean Lapierre, have renewed a call to extend the runway. (David Noel/Canadian Press via AP)

After recent events and a fatal crash, a 25-year project to extend the landing strip at the Magdalen Islands airport has been renewed.

Mayor Jonathan Lapierre and a delegation of Magdalen Islanders will soon visit Ottawa in an effort to convince federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau to move ahead with the plan.

In late March, former politician and journalist Jean Lapierre tragically died in a plane crash that also took the lives of four of his family members and two pilots.

One month before the fatal crash, a patient was not granted an emergency transfer because the air ambulance could not land at the Magdalen Islands airport due to the weather.

Extending the landing strip could have a sizeable effect. Air Canada, for example, has to cancel 20 per cent of its flights every year when there is drizzle, wind, snow or fog because the runway is too short.

Lapierre says the project is a matter of fairness, accessibility and security. 

"It is high time that the federal government listens to us, that they hear our arguments and help us achieve this project," Lapierre told Radio-Canada.

Lapierre will have the support of the region's federal minister Diane Lebouthillier in his upcoming trip to convince her colleagues in Ottawa.

With files from Radio-Canada's Line Danis