Expanding Riverview’s role as a air traffic control centre (?)

For those of you unfamiliar with Riverview, New Brunswick, some of the nicest homes belong to the folks working at the NAVCAN  Flight Information Region.  There are five of these across Canada.  Ever since I moved back to New Brunswick in the early 90s there have been rumblings of the potential closure of Riverview – it is supposedly the smallest of the five.  Here is what NAVCAN says on its website about the Riverview centre:

“Moncton FIR is an ideal place to work – with reasonable travel to sites, a variety of equipment which keeps the job dynamic, and a great group of people who have a vested interest in your career.” 

There was an excellent article in The Economist this week about the movement of control tower activity away from having one at each airport to centralized monitoring activity remotely.  Norway apparently is consolidating a lot of activity in a small, northern centre that will remotely monitor airports across the country.

In Canada, ‘consolidation’ usually means closing places like Riverview and moving the work to a larger centre.  We have seen it with hotdogs (Maple Leaf) as well as government services.  There is no reason why ‘consolidation’ couldn’t mean closing facilities in large centres and moving the work to smaller centres – particularly for work that isn’t geographically sensitive – but this doesn’t seem to work out much.

Anyway, it would be interesting to understand what is going on in Canada – will control towers be closing in favour of remote monitoring?  If so, could a place like Riverview be expanded to handle activity from across the country?  Or will this be just another example of a national organization – public or private – think CN Shops – closing here and moving the work to Ontario or Quebec?