The airport, which has been a staple in the local community and for aspiring pilots west of Montreal, is shuttering.
Its scheduled closing date is May 22.
“I feel sad, not only for our flying school but also for students, young people that want to become a pilot and also for the old community of aviation in Quebec and in Canada also,” Yvan Albert, the owner of Laurentide Aviation, told Global News.
The owner of the regional airport is no longer interested in maintaining it, according to a Facebook posting by Aviateurs Québec, and the Hoy family is looking to sell the land, which has an estimated value of $150 million.
“They can see the lure of more money, selling this to condos and houses,” Bernard Gervais, vice-president of communications of Aviateurs Québec, told Global News.
He fears the closing of the regional airport will hurt the future training of pilots as they have fewer options to learn and train. The imminent closing of Les Cèdres is the second closure of a regional airport in greater Montreal in the last six years. The last one was Mascouche Airport in 2016.
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“Another one that’s biting the dust,” Gervais said.
Les Cèdres airport is on a sprawling piece of property in a rural area west of Montreal and serves the entire population from the island almost to the Ontario border.
“It’s the only airport where we can have full training for becoming a pilot,” Albert said.
Retired pilot John Denney has flown in and out of the airport hundreds of times, mostly during the 1990s. He remembers a lot of commercial airline pilots who eventually flew for Air Canada came through this airport.
He bought his first plane at a small manufacturing plant next to the airfield. He says the closing of this airport is a big loss.
“This was the major place to get your pilot’s licence,” Denney said.
The airport has also been a motor for the local economy — attracting people to fly into the area to conduct business.
“Businesses can come in here if they want to develop and use some land or something,” Gervais said.
No one from the Hoy family replied to repeated requests from Global News for comment.
In a statement to Global News, Frédérica Dupuis, a spokesperson for Transport Canada, wrote: “Transport Canada does not interfere in decisions related to airport closures, nor does it intervene in closures. The decision to close an airport rests with the owner.”
Gervais first flew at Les Cèdres airport when he was eight years old with his uncle.
He just hopes something can be done to keep the airport from closing so that he can continue to fly there beyond the May 22 scheduled closing.