Nova Scotia

14 Wing Greenwood to host civilian aircraft after Waterville Airport closes

The Waterville Airport in Kings County closes March 31, and those who own aircraft and hangars there are moving to a new home.

Long-term agreement still being finalized with Department of National Defence

Aircraft will be moved out of the Waterville Airport to 14 Wing Greenwood by the end of the month. (Waterville/Kings County Municipal Airport/Facebook)

The Waterville Airport in Kings County closes at the end of the month, and those who own aircraft and hangars there are moving to a new home.

The Freedom Aviation Society, which represents pilots and plane owners moving from Waterville, signed a temporary agreement with the Department of National Defence to set up a civilian aviation operation at 14 Wing Greenwood.

Paul Easson, an aircraft owner and chair of the society, said a final, long-term agreement is still being finalized with DND, but he expects hangars and other buildings will be constructed at Greenwood over the summer.

Easson said he hopes it will be fully operational by the end of October.

The Waterville Airport closes March 31. (Waterville/Kings County Airport/Facebook)

"Most of the negotiations are complete, it's just a matter of getting the parties to agree to the final document," Easson told CBC Radio's Information Morning.

"I don't see that permanent arrangement being very long coming."

Easson said there will be hangars at Greenwood for between 15 and 20 civilian aircraft, the same number of planes coming over from Waterville.

"It's a wonderful facility, far beyond anything that the county could afford [at Waterville], or that we could afford on our own," said Easson.

"The possibilities are greater at Greenwood than at any other option we could have taken advantage of. When you have two runways that are 8,000 feet long and 200 feet wide and built to handle the heaviest military aircraft around, you got lots of possibilities."

Lots of possibilities

Easson said he thinks more civilian pilots and aviation people will be interested in using 14 Wing Greenwood once the civilian operation is up and running.

"The other thing we have opportunities for is more commercial aviation, not necessarily passenger service, but we have more opportunities because of the runways at Greenwood as well."

In late January, the council of the Municipality of the County of Kings approved the society's 10-year business plan to run a civilian aviation operation at Greenwood.

Council also approved a $1.147-million funding grant to the society for infrastructure and construction costs associated with setting up the civilian air facility at Greenwood.

Aircraft and aviation equipment at Waterville will be moved out before the March 31 closure.

Kings County still has plans to sell the Waterville Airport lands to Michelin, which says it wants the flexibility to expand its neighbouring plant.