By Tim Leeds
Big Sky Airlines has had to cancel flights while construction is being done at the Havre City-County Airport, and will have to cancel a few more later this month.
The airport closed this morning for the first round of work, and will be closed until Wednesday.
Brian Moore of Havre Flying Service said Tuesday that some additional days of work had to be scheduled to install lights showing the end of one runway, and to build pedestals for signs telling planes how far they are from the runway. That runway, the runway used by Big Sky Airlines, will be closed during the day from Sept. 17 to Sept. 20.
Big Sky's flight this morning is the last flight until the airport reopens Wednesday. Its evening flight is scheduled to arrive that day. Big Sky's afternoon flights between Billings and Havre will not run during the second round of work. The morning and evening flights are still scheduled to run.
Craig Denny, vice president of Big Sky Airlines, said Wednesday the airline had originally planned to cancel all flights during the Sept. 17-20 construction, but received word Tuesday that the airport would only be closed during the day. The airline's staff is adjusting its planning to continue the morning and evening flights, he said.
Bob Breum, chair of the airport board, said the work being done on the airport will extend the life of the facility considerably. The Federal Aviation Administration is picking up 90 percent of the cost, leaving about $11,600 for the airport to pay.
The work being done on the airport this week includes sealing cracks, laying a coat of fog seal on the runways, taxiways and apron, and painting signs and lettering.
Moore said the work to install the runway end lights and distance-to-go signs had to be delayed until Sept. 17 because the contractor was not available until then.
Denny said the work being done will enhance the safety of the airport, and Big Sky supports that work. He said the signs and lights will make it much easier for their pilots to use the airport.