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Pacific Coastal standing by Port Hardy flight cancellations

PORT HARDY, B.C.- Pacific Coastal Airlines is standing firm on its decision to cancel some flights from the Port Hardy airport.

The changes will affect flights between Vancouver (YVR) and YZT.

The southbound flight #800 at 7:05 a.m. has been canceled Tuesday through Saturday. The northbound flight #813 at 6:10 p.m., which operated Monday through Friday, has been canceled entirely.

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The schedule change comes into effect on February 2nd, 2018.

“Simply put, it was a business decision,” said Kevin Boothroyd, Pacific Coastal’s Director of Business Development and Corporate Communications.

“We’ve been tracking the load factor, the number of passengers booked on both (flights) 800 and 813 for some time, and we have been running in the red.”

He said the flights are under-performing, and when that happens, Pacific Coastal is unable to recoup their cost of operations.

“So we have two choices,” said Boothroyd.

“We either raise all the fares across the network in order to subsidize the flights that are not making our expected revenue margins or, as we did in this case, we decided to cancel those flights for this upcoming schedule, which starts on the 2nd of February.”

As to why they decided to leave certain flights unchanged, Boothroyd said that “those flights, at least on our numbers, are showing better returns.”

“You have to understand, too, that when we have flights that are regularly under-performing and that we are not making back our operational costs on, we’re carrying that accumulated loss forward, so on the flights that are doing well, we’re basically reducing our overall profitability,” he explained.

“It’s a tough decision to have to do. We are a longtime flier to small communities. We love flying to small communities, it’s in our DNA. We don’t take these decisions lightly.”

Boothroyd noted that as part of the nature of the business, airlines have to shuffle their schedules, especially if certain flight are not performing well.

“We understand the impact is difficult, but at some point, as a company, we have to ensure that we remain profitable on routes like this or otherwise, we can’t continue to support those communities in the long term.”

Boothroyd said they survey their flights every day, detailing how many people are on each plane.

“It is in fact the community that determines which flights are important to them and which ones aren’t, based on the total number of people booked by flight,” he said.

“In this case, it was pretty evident that we were running well under the load factor that we needed to justify 813 (and flight 800) when we have other flights that are doing better than that.”

The schedule change will last through to June 3rd, 2018.

Boothroyd said towards the end of that period, Pacific Coastal will review the schedule and passenger numbers, and possibly consider restoring the canceled flights into their summer schedule.

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