West Wind said lengthening the runway from 3,800 feet to 5,000 feet and widening it from 75 feet to 150 feet would allow the company to use larger aircraft to meet demand.
“If the runway were lengthened by just 1,200 feet and widened, it would greatly improve the ability for all carriers to serve these growing northern communities with larger aircraft needed to meet the demand,” Michael Rodyniuk, West Wind’s president and CEO, said Monday in a statement.
A dispute arose last week between the Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation and the Saskatchewan government over responsibility for a funding application.
Chief Louie Mercredi said the province was abandoning its commitment to developing the runway near his northern reserve.
He’s been pushing for changes since one person died and nine were seriously injured following a plane crash there in December 2017.
The province, which owns and operates the airport, blames the First Nation’s incomplete funding application for the project being delayed.
Rodyniuk said the short runways at both Fond du Lac and Wollaston affect the ability of West Wind to service those communities.
“We always operate with safety as our priority,” Rodyniuk said.
“It is currently cost-prohibitive to fly large aircraft into the community because we can only fly a handful of people out.”
West Wind said similar airports in northern Saskatchewan, including Stony Rapids and Buffalo Narrows, have 5,000-foot treated runways.
WATCH (April 2018): Plane not de-iced prior to Fond-du-Lac crash — TSB
—With files from the Canadian Press