Estevan Regional Airport – History

Estevan has a rich history of aviation and has enjoyed having an airport located in various locations here for many decades. The earliest mention of aircraft flying to Estevan was in 1924 when E.A. Alton did mail flights from Winnipeg to Estevan. In 1928 A.N. “Westy” Westergaard was contracted to do flights at the fair in Estevan. Prior to World War 2 there was a small facility marked by a wind sock that was used for landing and taking off of aircraft near the area where the Pleasantdale subdivision is now located.

In 1941 the R.A.F. was looking at establishing a new No. 38 Service Flying Training School in Swift Current. Then mayor or Estevan Harry Nicholson accompanied by Dave Bannatyne, Don Dunbar, and Walter Schlosser went to Ottawa to convince authorities to establish No. 38 S.F.T.S in Estevan rather than Swift Current. Their initial request was denied saying Estevan was too close to the international boarder, but a second appeal was made after learning of an Ontario site established just ½ mile from the U.S. border and after that the City of Estevan’s request was granted.  The announcement was made in the fall of 1941 that training facility would be built and that 1129 officers and airmen would be stationed in Estevan. The cost of the new facility was 3 million dollars, it would be located south of the city, and work was commenced immediately.

Training took place with the R.A.F. until the end of World War 2. In 1946 the City of Estevan obtained the airport under a lease agreement for $1 per year. The facility was converted to an aerodrome for civilian use and a flying club was formed. Two Tiger Moths were purchased and private flying lesioned were offered at the Estevan Airport.

The original airport served the City of Estevan for many decades with flight training; several businesses were located there over the years, and for private and business aircraft use. In the early 1980’s it was announced the land the airport would be sold to the Saskatchewan Power Corporation for the coal that was underneath it. The transaction involved the construction of a new airport located north of the city and during the winter of 1988-1989 the old airport served its last pilots and the new airport’s construction was completed. 

The new airport was officially opened on May 27, 1989 with a grand celebration including the Snowbirds. The new airport is located 5 km north of the City of Estevan just east of highway #47 it also offered longer runways and new hangars. Several businesses were located at the airport and with the continued growth of the oil sector in the Estevan area the airport continues to serve the community faithfully for many years offering aircraft maintenance, flight training, and fuel sales.

In the spring of 2011 Southeast Saskatchewan was severally hit by flooding on a level never seen before. The airport was also dramatically affected by the flooding and the electrical and paved surfaces of the runways were damaged by flooding. The engineering department of the City of Estevan worked hard with Provincial Disaster Assistance and developed a plan to make the required repairs and upgrades to the facility. In 2013 the main apron was re-paved and a new grade was used to enhance drainage. In 2015 both runways and taxiways received the same treatment. The runway grades were raised, new weeping tile installed, and new electrical transformers were installed for the runway lighting. The grand re-opening of the airport took place July 26, 2016 with an airshow that included once again the Snowbirds. This dramatically improvement to the airport will allow the Estevan Regional Airport to continue to be a first class facility and to serve the City of Estevan for many more years to come.     

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