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Pilot says he’s diverted from Halifax more than any other airport

TORONTO – Retired military pilot and aviation expert Jock Williams has flown to Halifax close to 100 times, but he has not always touched down there, and has admittedly diverted more times from Halifax than any other airport in the country.

“The thing that sticks in my mind about Halifax is that I have had to not land in Halifax more often than any other airport in the country,” he told Global News. “By virtue of the weather being bad, I’ve gone in, tried an approach, it hasn’t worked and gone back up to altitude…and eventually had to decide to go somewhere else, be it Fredericton, Moncton or Quebec City.”

Overall, Williams says Halifax is an “excellent airport,” but says it is surrounded by a “black hole” of darkness, and if it was up to him, he would install more high intensity lights on the approach.

“It’s got all the legal requirements, and so on, but if I had one choice in any airport in the country, I’d put an extra 2 or 3 thousand feet of lights going towards the runway and I would put the occasional crossbar,” Williams said.

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Williams also spoke about Instrument Landing System (ILS) and how not every runway in Canada is equipped with this type of landing indicator. Some runways will have ILS for one direction but not the other.

“The trouble is that the pieces of equipment that have to exist on the ground for an ILS are very, very expensive. Millions of dollars,” Williams said. “Every airport is financially limited and so a lot of airports – Ottawa is an example, Winnipeg – in fact, Toronto is just about the only airport I know in Canada that has ILS’ in all of the runways, virtually. But almost every other smaller place has [ILS in] one direction and the other will be localizer back course.”