Cape Air suspends flights during airport upgrade
CLARENDON — Cape Air is suspending its Rutland flights for five days, starting Monday, while an enhanced navigation system is installed at Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport.
Cape Air said it is suspending its Rutland-to-Boston flights during the runway closure from April 30 through May 4.
Rutland travelers can fly Cape Air from Lebanon, N.H., to Boston or New York City. The Cape Air desk at the Rutland airport will remain staffed.
Dave Carman, Rutland airport manager, said Thursday the main, 5,000-foot runway will be closed next week while work crews install the $925,000 instrument landing system, or ILS.
Carman said construction involves putting in concrete footings and an antenna array at the north end of the main runway.
He said the new navigation system will improve reliability, lowering the minimum landing criteria when visibility is poor.
Carman said surrounding airports, including Lebanon, N.H., and Glens Falls, N.Y., already have a precision approach landing system.
“I think it’s a small inconvenience that we have for these five days,” Carman said Thursday. “In the big picture perspective, it’s going to be an incredible benefit to the airport.”
The airport’s current landing minimums require a pilot to see the runway approach at an altitude of 500-feet at a distance of half-a-mile. Carman said the ILS should lower the minimum altitude by at least another 100 feet.
The airport’s shorter 3,170-foot runway will remain open during the day only. But that runway cannot handle larger aircraft like the nine-passenger Cessna 402s flown by Cape Air.
The precision landing system being installed works in conjunction with the existing medium intensity approach lighting system (MALSR).
The airline’s Andrew Bonney said the 88 passengers that were booked on Rutland-to-Boston flights next week were offered refunds or could catch a Cape Air flight from Lebanon to Boston.
Cape Air will add a fourth daily, round-trip Rutland-to-Boston flight in June to handle increased demand.
For the month of April, Bonney said the airline is on track to fly 900 passengers, up from 838 at Rutland a year ago.
“We’re having an incredible month in Rutland,” he said.
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