« This ceremony isn’t an end in itself but the beginning of important industrial, commercial and economic developments for our region. » In June 1968, this is the way then Bromont Mayor, Germain Désourdy, described his vision of the future Eastern Townships Regional Airport, on the day of the groundbreaking ceremony for its runway.
The idea of building a regional airport in the Shefford and Brome-Missisquoi region firtst occured in 1965 when elected representatives from Granby, Bromont, Cowansville, Farnham, Waterloo and Saint-Césaire met to plan the creation in their region of the first industrial airpark in the province. At first, only Cowansville and Bromont united in an effort to start the project but Granby joined the ranks a few years later. Bromont’s industrial park was quickly identified as site for the future regional airport.
September 26, 1968 marks the inauguration of the new regional airport and its 4000 foot runway. The installations have known such a progression that they rapidly became a national model. Indeed, the runway was extended to 6 000 feet in the early 1970′s. The airport acquired a radio beacon in 1973; it was the first time in Canada that such navigational equipment wasn’t operated by the federal government. The very same year, a 19020 square foot hangar was built for aircraft maintenance and repair. At the beginning of 1974, Aviation R. Goulet took residence in the hangar and prospered well enough to earn a Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (A.M.O.) certification from Tranport Canada in 1990. The company continues its activities in Bromont after nearly forty years.
In 1975, the Eastern Townships Regional Airport was chosen amid all airports in North America to carry experiments on a new landing aid system (Instrument Landing system or ILS). It is comprised of integrated circuits with dual fonctions: they help center the aircraft on the runway and provide the angle of descent.
In 1983, the Régie Aéroportuaire Régionale des Cantons de l’Est (R.A.R.C.E.) was formed by three partners with the signature of an initial agreement, renewable after 20 years. At the time, the three participating cities (Bromont, Cowansville and Granby) decided to develop one regional airport instead of two or three smaller ones. This excellent regional planning was endorsed by Transport Canada who, in 1987, granted the 5,4 million necessary to build a 5000′ by 100′ runway, aircraft parking area, runway lighting, a visual approach system and the necessary equipment for fueling aircarfts.
In 1991, an electronic system (LOC/DME) worth approximately half a million dollars was installed, allowing aircrafts to land in difficult weather conditions. In 1992, a new 14200 square foot terminal was built.
Between 1990 and 2000, the Regional Airport continued to play an essential role in the area’s economy by welcoming a diversified clientele including numerous dignitaries as well as leisure and business travellers. The airport has been able to accomodate aircrafts equiped with GPS since 2005. In 2007, the Air Cadets of the Canadian Armed Forces chose Bromont as training installations for their gliding program.
In 2011, Bromont accentuated its social commitment by organising an Open House activity that doubled as a static exposition of aircrafts and donated all the profits towards cancer research. The public response was such that the organisation repeated the experience in 2012 by raising the bar and orchestrating a major Airshow benefiting Leucan Montérégie.
2012 is a pivotal year for the airport; that is when the glider club Aéroclub des Cantons de l’Est chose it as its permanent homebase and officialised the move with the construction of a private hangar. Finally, on May 16 of 2012, the establishment changed its name to aéroport Roland-Désourdy in honour of the recently departed visionary political and business icon from the region.
Since its inauguration, in 1968, the airport was built on solid ground and can look forward to a promising future while keeping in touch with its founders’ wish of providing an economic and touristic engine to the benefit of our entire beautiful region.
Today the Régie possesses the following airport installations:
- A 5000′ X 100′ runway capable of sustaining aircrafts as large as a Boeing 737
- Paved parking for aircrafts
- A 190′ X 100′ hangar
- Runway lighting system
- Visual approach landing system
- Instrument approach system
- 100LL and Jet fuel
- Rotating beacon
- Air to ground communications (UNICOM)