Resurfacing nearly complete at Fairchild International Airport

Resurfacing of the runway at Fairchild International Airport is nearing completion, Port of Port Angeles Airport and Marina Manager Jon Picker told commissioners.

Picker gave commissioners a rundown on Aug. 22 of the steps remaining in the project being executed by Lakeside Industries that should be done by the second week of October and noted the remaining work will require the airport to be closed on certain days and at certain times.

“We’re in the middle of Phase II, clearing of vegetation, clearing the road,” Picker said. “Although there has been a slight delay with cracks, which was not unexpected. The project has been moving along.”

The airport will be closed Sept. 6, when crews will put down the first coat of paint, and at night for 14 days starting Sept. 27, when the contractor will start to cut grooves in the surface of the runway.

It will be closed again Oct. 6, when a final coat of paint is applied.

Parallel with the port’s project, the Federal Aviation Administration will also be making upgrades starting Monday, Picker said. They will include updates to the Medium Intensity Approach Lighting System with Runway Alignment Indicator Lights (MASLR) — the flashing lights on the west end of the runway.

Commissioner Connie Beauvais suggested commissioners hold one of their regular meetings at the airport after the resurfacing project is finished. They plan to do so on Oct. 24.

“I think it would nice to celebrate that,” Beauvais said. “This is a really important infrastructure for the community.”

The port submitted an application earlier this year to pursue a grant from the state Department of Transportation to help fund resurfacing the runway and design work for a new hangar. The total cost for both projects was estimated at $8.1 million, with $6.8 million of the funds — about 90 percent — coming from the FAA.

It’s still unclear when Dash Air might initiate scheduled service from Port Angeles to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, said Caleb McMahon, the port’s director of economic development. Dash Air signed and submitted the lease commissioners approved at their last meeting, as well as insurance documents.

“Backcountry, their provider, is insisting that they have their last piece of paper signed from the FAA,” McMahon said. “They should have that any day, and they’re waiting for that to actually take reservations.”

Commissioner Colleen McAleer asked McMahon when Dash Air plans to announce its new name.

“I have no idea. I don’t have insight into that,” McMahon said. “There has been a lot of turmoil behind closed doors trying to wrangle that out.”

The Dash Air name is trademarked by Kalinin Aviation, LLC, of Juneau, Alaska, which has the exclusive use of the name in scheduled commercial aviation.

Dash Air has decided to change its name rather than continue its legal dispute with Kalinin.