The Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) has sent a letter to Pacific Coastal Airlines asking the company to review their recent decision to cancel certain Port Hardy flights.
The letter outlines a number of concerns raised by the board regarding the loss of the early morning and evening flights between Port Hardy and Vancouver.
The airline announced early in January that as of Feb. 2 southbound flight #800 scheduled for 7:05 a.m. will be cancelled Tuesday through Saturday, and the northbound 6:10 p.m. flight #813, which operated Monday through Friday, will be cancelled entirely.
Pat English, Manager of Economic Development brought the letter forward at the RDMW’s Jan. 16 board meeting seeking a resolution to confirm the board’s support.
The letter is addressed to Erin Neely, Pacific Coastal Business Development Manager, and begins stating that “The Regional District of Mount Waddington is very appreciative of the service that Pacific Coastal has historically provided, not only for our own area but also for the connections with the mid-coast communities. However, our Board of Directors is strongly opposed to the recent announcement concerning the cancellation of early morning and late evening flights from Port Hardy that provide a valued service for all the communities in the Northern Vancouver Island Area.”
The letter also addresses the potential economic impacts of the flight changes to the region.
“The cancellation will significantly reduce the time available for meetings in the Lower Mainland and will make it difficult to conclude business arrangements or discussions without incurring the extra time and cost associated with overnight accommodation. This cost disadvantage will further reduce our ability to attract new businesses and promote the economic development of the region.”
The letter continues to state that as Pacific Coastal is also the primary connection for residents transferring to and from other flights in Vancouver cancellation of the early morning and late evening flights reduces the options available for connecting flights which imposes additional cost and time needed for overnight accommodation in Vancouver.
“We are currently developing a major attraction campaign for the region and cancellation of scheduled flights is an event that will not reinforce our message of a well-connected community with robust transportation infrastructure,” wrote English, adding “The reduction in transportation options is generally not viewed as an indicator of a healthy and dynamic region.”
The letter concludes witht the RDMW asking Pacific Coastal to review their decision and maintain the current level of service.
The board voted on and passed the motion to send the letter to Pacific Coastal.
The airline has stated that the two flights in question have had historically low passenger numbers and the company is unable to recoup the cost of operations during the winter season.