Kamloops Airport passenger numbers remain low through first half of 2021 as travel restrictions gradually ease

From Radio NL 610 AM – link to source story – thanks to CW

Victor Kaisar | Jul 16, 2021

Kamloops Airport passenger numbers remain low through first half of 2021 as travel restrictions gradually ease

Kamloops Airport staff are reporting a 319 per cent increase in passenger volumes during the months of April, May, and June this year.

Data released today shows there were 7,932 passengers that passed through the terminal at YKA, up from just 2,489 during the same three months last year.

Most of those passengers (3,373) were in June when travel restrictions within the province were eased, as part of Step 2 of BC’s COVID Restart Plan, compared to 1,407 in 2020.

So far though six months of the year, there have been 17,122 passengers at Kamloops Airport.

In April, there were 2,506 passengers (compared to 493 in 2020) while in May there were 2,053 passengers (compared to 589 in 2020).

“Passenger numbers in the second quarter continue to reflect the negative impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic on the airline, aviation and tourism industries in Kamloops,” Kamloops Airport Managing Director Ed Ratuski said. “Passenger numbers are slowly starting to recover domestically as provincial travel restrictions ease and passengers take advantage of the increased frequencies and new services offered by WestJet, Air Canada, Central Mountain Air, and Pacific Coastal Airlines.”

“However, as travel restrictions and quarantine requirements remain in place for much of the country and limited relaxation of restrictions for transborder and international destinations , recovery to pre-pandemic passenger levels will remain slow.”

While masks are not mandatory in indoor spaces in B.C. as of July 1 as part of Step 3 of the COVID Restart Plan, Ratuski is reminding passengers that masks are mandatory during the security screening and in the boarding lounge at the airport, as well as onboard the aircraft.

“We also recommend that all persons entering the terminal wear a mask. Passengers will continue to have their temperature checked prior to boarding the aircraft and we recommend allowing additional time for check in and security screening processes,” he added.

“Hourly parking is currently free to encourage those dropping off or picking up passengers to remain outside the terminal or at their vehicles.”

With restrictions on travel within Canada eased as of July 1, passengers are also being encouraged to check in online to limit the need for direct contact with airline personnel while in the terminal.

Passenger volume takes off at YXS

From My Prince George Now – link to source story – thanks to CW

Dione Wearmouth, staff Friday, Jul. 16th, 2021 

Prince George Airport (Photo supplied by YXS)

The rates of passengers catching flights at the Prince George Airport are steadily increasing as the airport saw the most monthly passengers in June 2021 since March 2020.

The airport saw 7,427 passengers in April, 8,124 passengers in May, and 12,870 passengers in June.

Passenger numbers at YXS were up significantly in comparison to the second quarter of 2020; however, passenger volumes are still down 54% year to date.

“We’re seeing a very significant increase in passenger numbers and we’re very happy about that, ” said President and CEO of the Prince George Airport Authority, Gordon Duke, “it’s a good sign.”

Duke adds he believes this trend will continue into the next couple of months as provincial health restrictions ease nationwide.

“The airline partners that we have are putting on more destinations, more capacity and I think people want to visit their friends and family and they, of course, have been restricted because of the public health directives and properly so, however, I think there’s going to be a bit of an uptick,” he added.

In terms of air service, the Prince George Airport is seeing growth with Flair starting back up and expanded schedules from both Central Mountain Air and Pacific Coastal.

Recently, the inaugural flight from Campbell River to Prince George took off, a route that will be available with Central Mountain Air on Wednesdays and Tuesdays.

Additionally, Duke says that the increasing trend of people supporting the aviation sector isn’t just occurring in the Northern Capital.

“In BC we’re definitely seeing a lot of airport numbers are getting back in that positive direction and as the rest of the country comes online and restrictions are dropped we’ll see that people will have the opportunity to move about Canada as we’ve been used to in the past. I think the transporter and international market is going to be a little bit tougher, however, as restrictions are lifted that market will grow as well.”

Skip the long drive by flying out to your B.C. destination this summer

Thanks to CW

7 July 2021

Central Mountain Air is running non-stop flights from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, the Cariboo region, the Okanagan Valley, and Central B.C.

central-mountain-air-1Kelowna, B.C.Central Mountain Air

Really want to make a great escape from the city but NOT looking forward to that long car ride in the hot summer heat? Opt to hop on a plane to your getaway spot instead!

Now that non-essential travel within B.C. is encouraged again, Vancouverites can book inter-provincial non-stop flights with Central Mountain Air for a quick and affordable way to get around the province this year.

Departing from the South Terminal at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), passengers can fly direct from Vancouver to Campbell River, Quesnel, Kamloops, Kelowna, and Prince George. 

Then, from Prince George, you can also fly further up Northern B.C. with routes to Fort. St. John, Fort Nelson, and Terrace.  


Campbell River, B.C. Photo: Central Mountain Air.

Here’s a quick primer of the cities that Central Mountain Air currently flies to from Vancouver.  

  • On the east coast of Vancouver Island, the oceanside community of Campbell River and the Discovery Islands are renowned for its spectacular mountains, west coast woodlands, Elk Falls Provincial Park and Suspension Bridge, whale watching, and salmon fishing at Discovery Pier.
     
  • Located along a pivotal mining trail of the Cariboo Gold Rush, Quesnel is home to B.C. heritage spots such as the Alexander Mackenzie hiking trail and the original 1867 Hudson’s Bay Company Trading Post in Riverfront Park.
     
  • The sunny canyon city of Kamloops in B.C.’s Interior is a four-season playground with long summers for hiking, biking, and water adventures. Go kayaking on one of Kamloops’ 100+ lakes and embark on outdoor adventures at Sun Peaks Resort.
     
  • Located on the eastern shore of Okanagan Lake, Kelowna is the Okanagan Valley’s largest city and is known for local vineyards and wineries, sandy beaches, surrounding provincial parks, and bustling downtown area — making it the perfect destination for urban and rural experiences.
     
  • The largest city in Northern B.C, Prince George is full of opportunities for outdoor recreation, from mountain biking through pristine rainforests to fishing in the endless network of streams, lakes, and rivers. It’s also the basecamp for venturing into Northeastern B.C. and Northwestern B.C. towards Fort St. John, Fort Nelson, and Terrace.  


Fly with CMA! Photo: Central Mountain Air.

Connecting B.C. communities with ease and convenience since 1987, the independent Western Canadian airline is giving local B.C. residents a chance to go back to travelling and exploring their backyard. 

And, to further ensure that you can book your flight with confidence, Central Mountain Air has extended their COVID-19 flexible booking and cancellation policy until July 31st for travel through to November 7th, so you can have peace of mind knowing you can make changes to your flight reservation if you need to. ⁠

For more info, visit flycma.com/schedule.

Central Mountain Air Adds Campbell River to Network

Thanks to CW

CAMPBELL RIVER PRESS RELEASE.png

(Smithers, BC, June 17th, 2021)

17 June 2021 – Central Mountain Air adds Campbell River via Vancouver and Prince George to their Summer Flight Network with 16 flights per week.    

Central Mountain Air (CMA) announced today that it will add Campbell River to its network with 16 flights per week beginning Monday, July 12, 2021, and continuing through to Saturday, November 6, 2021. Scheduled service will include 12 non-stop flights per week to/from Vancouver and 4 non-stop flights per week to/from Prince George.   

These flights will focus on adding convenient times and connections to their expanding network. “We are excited to be offering a great new option from the area to Northern B.C.” shared CMA Head of Commercial Michael Claeren, “the connections to Terrace, Fort St John, and Fort Nelson are well-timed for mid-morning arrival and mid-afternoon return”. He continued, “we are also happy to be re-entering the Campbell River to Vancouver market, after having suspended operations due to COVID-19 just over a year ago”.  

With reopening plans moving forward in both British Columbia and Alberta, CMA is optimistic about the future of air travel as restrictions ease and we continue on the road to recovery. CMA looks forward to continuing to connect communities, loved ones, workforces, and provide an essential service to the communities that need it.   

Other new routes already announced that will start on June 28 are non-stop flights from Edmonton to/from Fort St John, High Level, and Grande Prairie, as well as non-stop flights from Vancouver to/from Quesnel. 

CMA is the independent regional airline leader in British Columbia and Alberta with 29 aircraft and looks forward to more fully utilizing that fleet.  

See CMA’s full schedule at flycma.com/schedule  

About Central Mountain Air Ltd.    

Established in 1987, CMA is a Western Canadian privately owned and operated company. CMA provides scheduled flights to twelve communities, cargo to ten, and charter flights throughout British Columbia, Alberta, and Western Canada. For more information, and to learn about CMA’s enhanced COVID-19 safety procedures, visit flycma.com.

Central Mountain Air Releases Summer Flight Schedule

DSC_7413 (1) (1).jpg

(SMITHERS, BC May 11, 2021) Central Mountain Air responds to the need to provide air service to communities by adding 78 flights per week. 

Grande Prairie, High Level and Quesnel added to network.

Flights per weeks
8 – Edmonton YEG | Fort St John YXJ
8 – Edmonton YEG | Grande Prairie YQU
4 – Edmonton YEG | High Level YOJ
4 – Edmonton YEG | Prince George YXS
5 – Edmonton YEG | Fort Nelson YYE
5 – Edmonton YEG | Terrace YXT
5 – Kamloops YKA | Prince George YXS
5 – Kamloops YKA | Fort Nelson YYE
6 – Kamloops YKA | Fort St John YXJ
6 – Kamloops YKA | Terrace YXT
5 – Kelowna YLW | Prince George YXS
5 – Kelowna YLW | Fort Nelson YYE
6 – Kelowna YLW | Fort St John YXJ
6 – Kelowna YLW | Terrace YXT
4 – Prince George YXS | Fort Nelson YYE
5 – Prince George YXS | Fort St John YXJ
5 – Prince George YXS | Terrace YXT
4 – Prince George YXS | Grande Prairie YQU
4 – Quesnel YQZ | Castlegar YCG
6 – Vancouver YVR | Castlegar YCG
3 – Vancouver YVR | Kamloops YKA
3 – Vancouver YVR | Kelowna YLW
5 – Vancouver YVR | Quesnel YQZ
6 – Vancouver YVR | Prince George YXS
6 – Vancouver YVR | Edmonton YEG
6 – Vancouver YVR | Fort Nelson YYE
7 – Vancouver YVR | Fort St John YXJ
7 – Vancouver YVR | Terrace YXT

Central Mountain Air (CMA) announced today that it will increase its scheduled service by 78 flights per week beginning June 28th, 2021, and continuing through to November 6, 2021. Many of these flights will service connections that were originally suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CMA is also expanding the available days of the week on their existing schedule, with an emphasis on new Friday and Sunday flight options.

 “CMA has been contacted by both individuals and community leaders to provide service to enable their communities to recover and receive air connectivity after scheduled service reduced over 80% due to COVID-19. I commend these municipalities and airports for their willingness to partner and support their regions to help make this announcement today,” commented Michael Claeren, Central Mountain Air’s Head of Commercial.  

 “These communities are concerned about their future as they face the prospect of being left without or with limited air service, especially at a time when their regional economies have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding hardship.”  

 Although COVID-19 rates are still high, CMA is optimistic that essential travel guidance will be eased as British Columbia, Alberta, and Canada continue on the road to recovery with more vaccines being administered daily. CMA will still offer a flexible booking and cancellation policy for bookings until June 20th, 2021 for travel through to November 7th, 2021. 

 Bob Cummings, CEO added, “CMA will apply the same operational discipline for which it has a reputation to all the new routes and capacity. This will help nurse communities back to full recovery as the pandemic subsides. While many of the affected regional cities have been impacted by this announcement there are more cities and services to come.”

CMA is the independent regional airline leader in British Columbia and Alberta with 29 aircraft and looks forward to more fully utilizing that fleet.  

To celebrate their summer flight schedule launch, CMA is offering 10% off base airfares using promo code SUMMER21.

The promo code is valid for all scheduled flights starting June 01, 2021 with no blackout periods. This deal is only available on bookings through the CMA website and is not available through your travel agent. CMA has extended its Flexible Booking and Cancellation Policy for bookings until June 20, 2021 for travel through to November 7, 2021 to give you peace of mind when making your booking.  

Book from May 11, 2021 until May 25, 2021 @ 11:59PM PST 

For travel between June 01, 2021, and November 6, 2021 

See CMA’s full schedule at flycma.com/schedule

About Central Mountain Air Ltd.  

Established in 1987, CMA is a Western Canadian privately owned and operated company. CMA provides scheduled flights to twelve communities, cargo to ten, and charter flights throughout British Columbia, Alberta, and Western Canada. For more information, and to learn about CMA’s enhanced COVID-19 safety procedures, visit flycma.com. 

Service to West Kootenay Regional Airport not included in Air Canada deal announcement

From Castlegar News – link to source story

Air Canada will not be resuming flights to Castlegar at this time

BETSY KLINE | Apr. 21, 2021

Air Canada will not be resuming flight to Castlegar anytime soon. Photo: Betsy Kline
Air Canada will not be resuming flight to Castlegar anytime soon. Photo: Betsy Kline

The West Kootenay Regional Airport (WKRA) is not on the list of regional airports that Air Canada will be resuming flights to as part of the company’s $5.9-billion deal with the federal government.

Resumption of flights to regional airports was included in the deal, and many were hoping that would mean service would resume soon at WKRA.

South Okanagan West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings has been lobbying for years on behalf of Castlegar’s airport and has been following the situation closely.

While he is happy to see that the airline will be resuming service to the Penticton airport by June 1 he says, “My real disappointment is that Castlegar was left off the list of restarted routes and I’ll continue to press Air Canada to resume that service.”

In a recent conversation with Air Canada, Cannings was told that during the pandemic the company had disposed of the Dash 8-300 planes that flew into Castlegar and the company did not have any other planes it felt comfortable using at WKRA.

Cannings was also told, however, that Air Canada is working on negotiating an agreement with an inter-line partner to operate services on their behalf. There was no timeline given for the negotiations.

This doesn’t mean that Air Canada is never coming back to Castlegar.

“Although the West Kootenay Regional Airport was not listed in Air Canada’s first announcement, the city understands Air Canada will be expected to return service to our regional airport as part of its agreement with the federal government,” says Castlegar’s communications manager Bree Seabrook.

“The aviation industry still faces a significant amount of uncertainty during the third wave of COVID-19 but the city is working hard to ensure the West Kootenay Regional Airport is well-positioned to offer the flight options travellers want and need when things return to normal.”

Other stipulations of the government’s financial package include Air Canada offering refunds for cancelled flights related to the pandemic and capping executive bonuses to $1 million.

Meanwhile, Central Mountain Air is continuing to offer flights to WKRA.

PG Airport Authority looks ahead as Q1 numbers drop as expected

From CKPG Today – link to source story

by Caden Fanshaw, Apr 15, 2021

CKPG File Image

PRINCE GEORGE – Passengers are still boarding, and flights are still taking off, but the numbers from the first quarter are “as expected”, down 78% from a year ago.

CEO of the Prince George Airport Authority, Gordon Duke says there is reason to be optimistic when looking ahead to the future.

“We’re happy to see Central Mountain Air expanding their routes, Pacific Coastal increasing frequency, Westjet announcing a route to Abbotsford a new destination coming out of this. I think as we see more vaccines go into arms, we will see more domestic travel coming out of this,” says Duke.

The drop off in traffic has created budget challenges for the Prince George Airport Authority, but provincial funding of $720,000 will help in the short term, paying for maintenance, and other fixed costs that can’t be adjusted.

Although passenger traffic continues to struggle, the importance of the airport for more than just commercial flights continues to shine according to Duke.

With the third-longest runway in North America, YXS continues to offer a hub for COVID-19 vaccine delivery, along with a base for wildfire tankers in the summer months.

The airport saw 7,831 passengers in January, 6,834 passengers in February, and 7,939 passengers in March.

Airline service to Fort Nelson, B.C., to resume with funding from governments

From CBC News – link to source story

Provincial, federal governments step up to fund twice-weekly Prince George flights after lobbying campaign

Karin Larsen · CBC News · Feb 03, 2021

Flights into and out of Fort Nelson will resume on Feb. 18, Central Mountain Air has announced. (Simon Charland-Faucher/Radio-Canada)

Flights to Fort Nelson, B.C., are set to resume later this month after Central Mountain Air announced earlier it was temporarily cutting the only airline service to the town of 3,500 in the province’s northeast corner. 

In a media release, Central Mountain Air said it will resume twice-weekly service between Prince George and Fort Nelson on Feb. 18. with more flights added as pandemic travel restrictions ease and demand grows.

The release said the provincial and federal government assisted in the renewal of the flights, but no dollar figure was given.

Fort Nelson Mayor Gary Foster said the city had been lobbying both levels of government, pointing out that the federal government made promises on two occasions to support regional airlines during the pandemic.

“We’re just ecstatic this is coming along and that the funding is forthcoming,” he said.

Foster said without airline service, it would be impossible for residents to get timely medical care outside the community, or for medical professionals to travel to the town.

“Fort Nelson is fairly remote. We’re four hours away from the nearest and largest community, which is Fort St. John … and about nine hours from Prince George. So you can imagine travelling the road if you need medical care, an operation or cancer treatment.”

Central Mountain Air had originally announced a three-month total shutdown of service, between Feb. 3 and May 3.

The revival of the service means the shutdown will now only last two weeks.

Pre-pandemic, Fort Nelson had a daily flight in and out of the city.

With files from Andrew Kurjata

Fort Nelson in northeastern B.C. loses flight service for at least 3 months amid COVID slump

From CBC News – link to source story

Central Mountain Air suspends flights between Fort Nelson and Prince George starting Feb. 3

CBC News · Posted: Jan 20, 2021

Central Mountain Air will suspend its route between Prince George and Fort Nelson starting in early February, leaving the small Northern Rockies community with no scheduled flight service for at least three months. (Central Mountain Air)

Central Mountain Air announced Tuesday it is suspending flights between Fort Nelson, B.C., and the northern hub of Prince George, leaving the small northeastern community with no flight services for at least three months. 

The Smithers-based airline said flights between Fort Nelson — a municipality of over 3,000 people — and Prince George will not run from Feb. 3 to May 3, at the earliest. 

Travellers from the Northern Rockies town will need to drive four hours to the nearest airport in Fort St. John, B.C., or continue for a nine-hour drive to Prince George.

Central Mountain Air also suspended flights between Prince George and Kamloops in the souther Interior from Feb. 3 to Apr. 5.

“Devastating declines in travel and extended provincial health advisories against non-essential travel have necessitated a significant scaling back of our scheduled operations for the foreseeable future,” wrote Central Mountain Air CEO Bob Cummings in a statement. 

Cummings said it’s a hard decision to cut back services for remote communities.

“I feel horrible,” he said to CBC News. “The air transportation link for medical treatment, keeping a base level of the economy going for the resource industry, as well as cargo, medical supplies, mail … these are crucial links for these communities.” 

Fort Nelson Mayor Gary Foster says the flight suspension is particularly challenging for people seeking medical services out of town, as well as medical professionals coming to provide services to the small community.

“They would have to spend a day driving [from the airport in Fort St. John or Prince George] to the Northern Rockies and driving a day out,” he said. “Plus they would have a rental car. They would have to pay for the length of time they’re here in Fort Nelson.”

The nearest scheduled airline service for residents of Fort Nelson, B.C., is now a four-hour drive away at Fort St. John. (Simon Charland/CBC)

Last Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ordered the new federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra to make regional airlines a priority along with supporting regional economic development.

Foster says federal and provincial governments should step in to support regional airlines like Central Mountain Air amid the economic woes during the pandemic, but he’s not optimistic other Canadian airlines are able to fill in the gap to provide services to Fort Nelson.

“I think they’re all running for cover and they are worried about just staying afloat until the end of this pandemic,” he said. 

Both Air Canada and WestJet have also slashed services because of plummeting demand due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Starting Saturday, Air Canada will cut all its flights from two other B.C. destinations: Prince Rupert on the North Coast and Kamloops.

With files from Andrew Kurjata and Christine Coulter

Central Mountain Air to suspend key regional routes

Continued lack of government support adversely affecting vital air service

Airline calls on communities to engage all levels of government to support essential air services

SMITHERS, BC, Jan. 19, 2021 /CNW/ – Today, Central Mountain Air (CMA) announced it will suspend service on three regional routes. The routes will be suspended from February 3, 2021, to at least April 5, 2021. This action by CMA follows their decision earlier this month to suspended service from Prince George to Fort St. John as the company continues to deal with the crushing economic impact of the pandemic. No other airline operates these affected routes.

“Devastating declines in travel and extended provincial health advisories against non-essential travel have necessitated a significant scaling back of our scheduled operations for the foreseeable future,” commented Bob Cummings, Central Mountain Air’s CEO. “The federal government has been promising for almost a year that help is on the way to support these essential air services, but no such support has been received or clearly outlined. Our customers and the communities we serve are bearing the brunt of this inaction. In addition to supporting the local economies with the transport of essential workers, our airline and its dedicated staff fly customers to medical treatments and transport medical supplies, mail, and other vital cargo.

Route Changes

BetweenDates
Fort Nelson / Prince GeorgeSuspended February 3 to earliest May 3
Kamloops / Prince GeorgeSuspended February 3 to earliest April 5
Edmonton* / High LevelSuspended February 3 to earliest May 3
Vancouver / KamloopsStarts April 5, 2x weekly
*Note: Edmonton has a charter base with an opportunity for ad hoc charter requests.”

Recognizing the crucial link our airline provides to the communities we serve, CMA continued to operate these routes, with one short suspension, since the start of the pandemic (March April 2020) while sustaining losses. For more than ten months, CMA leadership has sought to engage the federal government in support of airports and airlines, particularly in more remote areas. However, the promised necessary financial support has not materialized. At this time, without direct government support to assist in maintaining operations until demand resumes, CMA can no longer continue the provision of these essential air services.

“We also need the continued support of the communities we serve,” continued Bob Cummings. If you rely on our services and would like to voice your view that scheduled air services are critical to your community, we ask you to contact your MLA, MP, Premier or the federal Minister of Transport. With government support, we would be proud to continue to serve our customers and maintain crucial airline connectivity in British Columbia and Alberta until demand returns. If there is any chance to save vital air service to these communities, action must be urgently undertaken.”