The front entrance of Windsor International Airport is shown in this file photo in Windsor, Ont. (Michelle Maluske / CTV Windsor)

Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse revealed the legislative changes he will introduce to provide the transport minister with the power to remove airports from NAV Canada studies to reduce or eliminate air traffic controllers.

Masse revealed details of the plan at a news conference on Friday and was joined by corporate pilot Dante Albano, Richard Bradwell, manager of the Windsor Flying Club and other local stakeholders.

Masse said it’s to ensure Windsor’s International Airport remains a growing economic anchor to many business sectors in the city, while guaranteeing the highest level of aviation safety for the public. He said the legislation will provide the necessary authority for the transport minister to act.

“During the past two months a review of all potential options available to remove YQG from the NAV Canada study was legally evaluated and this was determined to be the best option. The Transport Minister stated he could not act because of the law. With this legal change he will be able to, not only for the airport here, but across the country,” Masse stated.

In November 2020, Nav Canada announced a study that included YQG and five other airports, including those in Regina and Whitehorse, for the elimination of air traffic control services.

Masse said this is the necessary first step in the process. Since then there has been a public outcry, as well as a consensus from local elected officials at all levels to stop this.

In 2019, YQG had its highest ever passenger volume year- serving over 383,000 passengers - a 300 percent increase in volume from 2009. Beyond passenger traffic, he said the airport has become a logistics air hub for shipments from the local large and growing greenhouse industry and the advanced manufacturing sector.

“This legislation will help Windsor and other airports in the long run, I think it’s something we all want to see. Everyone wants to see our control tower stay. It’s incredible to see how far a simple petition has come. Thank you everyone for your support,” said Albano.

Bradwell said the legislative change would allow the transport minister to take practical and decisive action to remove Windsor from the NAV Canada study, and allow them all to focus on what matters at the moment, rebuilding and supporting our local economy, and not spending our time defending against NAV Canada’s service reduction and cost cutting initiatives.

“Initiatives that will ultimately damage a key piece of local infrastructure like our airport,” said Bradwell. “We would like to thank the local aviation community and Windsor residents who have stepped up and signed the petition and supported our cause to protect our airport and its tower services.”