PORT HARDY, B.C.- Pacific Coastal Airlines plans to cancel some flights out of the Port Hardy airport.
The Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director Gaby Wickstrom released a statement on their Facebook page this morning, announcing the cancellations.
That statement can be found here.
Speaking with 98.9 the Goat, she said “Pacific Coastal is curtailing their schedule. They are removing the first flight out in the morning, and the last flight back in the evening (all week), except for Sunday night (last flight) and Monday morning, so the plane will no longer be ‘over-nighting’ on the North Island.”
“From the feedback that we have gotten so far, it’s looking like mid-week works better for commuters,” she said.
This all means that the last flight Sunday evening and first morning flight on Monday morning will still run, and all the other last and first flights during the rest of the week will be canceled.
Wickstrom said they are going to be putting together a business case for flights that are more convenient for commuters.
“Our case as a Chamber is that they have chosen the wrong days and the wrong flights. I can understand that they do not want the plane sitting there in the middle of the afternoon, idle for a few hours, but camp workers need these flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to get in and out, and other businesses we have heard from say Thursday is always a good day.”
She said the Chamber will propose shifting available flights into the midweek instead of keeping the Sunday last flight of the night and first Monday morning flight.
Wickstrom noted that this move will have a major impact on North Island residents.
“There’s a lot of people that have chosen to make the North Island their home and they have to work elsewhere,” she said.
“They lose pretty much half a day to get down to Comox to fly in and out (with the cancellations). There’s medical appointments that people use this for, and there’s meetings in Vancouver.”
She added that many residents go to the mainland for training. They often go first thing in the morning and come back at night again. With the flights being canceled, they would not be able to do that.
“We are also trying to market the region as being affordable as far as housing goes, and that people can do business anywhere,” she explained.
“Now, they cannot travel as freely back and forth if they have to go to a meeting in the Lower Mainland.”
She noted that the goal of the business case is to work together with Pacific Coastal to “make sure they have flights that are suitable for our residents, and (that are) not having a detrimental effect.”
She added that anyone with comments or concerns can contact the Chamber of Commerce at (250) 956-3881.
We have reached out to Pacific Coastal Airlines for comment. Once comment has been received, it will be added to this report.