Pacific Coastal Airlines cutting direct flights between Vancouver and Cranbrook
Residents of the Kootenay community of Cranbrook, B.C., will soon find themselves with fewer options to fly to the coast.
Regional air carrier Pacific Coastal Airlines is ending direct flights between Cranbrook’s Canadian Rockies International Airport and Vancouver as of April 28.
The company has cited a shortage of pilots and aircraft maintenance crews along with challenges linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eva Gorka, a Cranbrook dog breeder who says she relies on the airline to ship animals around British Columbia, said she was “shocked” and “disappointed” by the move.
“This is terrible because now with Pac Coastal being shut down I will probably have to drive to the Calgary airport to ship some of my dogs,” she said.
“And driving to Calgary for me sometimes in the winter is not always feasible. So this is very disappointing, it’s hugely disappointing for me. I’m shocked. I don’t understand why they are closing.”
The airline launched the direct service between the destinations in 2003; it was suspended for several months during the pandemic in 2020.
The Cranbrook airport said the end of the service will mean the loss of 18 seats per day, and that Air Canada and WestJet flights — representing about 262 seats per day — would not be affected.
“Really, it’s about the human resource issue that you are seeing in the industry. In all sectors of industry, you are seeing it right now, especially the more technical sides. There are airlines all across North America that are eliminating services, especially the more regional flights,” Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Price said.
“I think most of all what we are going to miss is the convenience.”
In a media release earlier this week, Pacific Coastal Airlines stated it was also looking at reducing capacity in other markets in its network to ensure it could maintain a reliable flight schedule this year.
The airline currently flies to 17 airports in B.C.
The company said anyone affected by the cancellations would be contacted directly and offered a full refund.
by Global News