Government of Canada announces over $18.8 million in support for the air transportation ecosystem in British Columbia

Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI) funding will help maintain regional connectivity and jobs

KELOWNA, BC, Feb. 22, 2022 /CNW/ – In a country as large as Canada, air connectivity is critical to the prosperity of all Canadians. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted regional air transportation ecosystems, affecting economies, communities and businesses across the country.

The Government of Canada’s Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI), launched in March 2021, is fostering access to air transportation and supporting regional ecosystems.

BC's regional airports get an economic boost (CNW Group/Pacific Economic Development Canada)
BC’s regional airports get an economic boost (CNW Group/Pacific Economic Development Canada)

Regional air ecosystem to benefit from funding

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, announced RATI funding of over $18.8 million in federal support for 11 airports and two air carriers in B.C.

Regional airports and carriers provide a vital service, providing commercial flight access, supporting critical supply chains and promoting economic growth. They connect patients to needed medical care and enable essential work travel. They provide important emergency services and cargo operations to supply businesses and frontline workers.

This funding will ensure airports and carriers can continue essential routine maintenance and facility operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will help maintain employment and restore growth in the region as we work to build back from the pandemic.

Regional air transportation is key to the economic development of communities and businesses across Canada. This investment shows the Government of Canada’s commitment to supporting economic development across the country and fostering sustainable, inclusive growth for all.


“Air transportation is essential to community well-being and regional economic development. Today’s announcement will not only enhance airport safety and support our essential services but will also create jobs that British Columbians can rely on and bolster regional growth as we recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

–       The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“It is essential that different levels of government partner to stimulate the economy as we recover from COVID-19. The Kelowna International Airport plays a critical role in supporting economic development in Kelowna and the region.”

–        Mayor Basran, City of Kelowna

“Thank you to the federal government for providing funding to these regional airports and airlines in B.C. This funding is critical to maintain and rebuild connectivity throughout Canada.”

–       Monette Pasher, Interim President, Canadian Airports Council 

“In my role as Airports Council International – North America Chair, I am working with my colleagues across North America as our industry recovers from COVID-19. Investments in aviation, such as the one being made by the federal government today, not only support the recovery of these airports and airlines, but also their surrounding communities.”

–       Sam Samaddar, Director, Kelowna International Airport

Projects being funded:

Legal NameCityFunding
Stikine Airport Society-Dease Lake AirportDease Lake$328,322
Regional District of Alberni-Clayoquot-Tofino / Long Beach AirportTofino$328,322
City of Abbotsford-Abbotsford International AirportAbbotsford$2,320,000
Kelowna International AirportKelowna$3,261,330
Town of Smithers-Smithers Regional AirportSmithers$505,616
City of Williams Lake-Williams Lake Regional AirportWilliams Lake$130,000
Pacific Coastal Airlines LimitedRichmond$5,098,602
Central Mountain Air Ltd., 580741 British Columbia Ltd.Smithers$5,000,000
The City of Castlegar-West Kootenay Regional AirportCastlegar$524,200
The Corporation of the City of Cranbrook-Canadian Rockies International AirportCranbrook$609,584
Northern Rockies Regional Municipality-Northern Rockies Regional AirportFort Nelson$328,322
Cariboo Regional District-Cariboo Regional AirportAnahim Lake$54,720
City of Quesnel-Quesnel Regional AirportQuesnel$326,518

Quick facts

  • The Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI) has a national budget of $206 million.
  • The initiative supports regional air ecosystems—which include regional air carriers and airports, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises and non-profit organizations—in developing and implementing enhanced services for improved regional connectivity.
  • It is delivered by regional development agencies across Canada, including Pacific Economic Development Canada, the new regional development agency dedicated to British Columbia.
  • RATI complements measures implemented by Transport Canada.

Associated links

Pacific Coastal Airlines Temporarily Suspends Network Operations on Sunday, January 2 and Monday, January 3

December 31st, 2021

Richmond, BC – Pacific Coastal Airlines has decided to temporarily suspend all network operations on Sunday, January 2 and Monday, January 3 due to the rapid transmission of Omicron COVID-19 variant we are experiencing in our Operational Control Centre. Our teams have exhausted all options and resources before the decision was made to suspend operations for these two days.

“It breaks my heart to be impacting the travel plans of so many customers, yet we are left with no viable alternative at this time,” says Pacific Coastal Airlines’ President Quentin Smith. “We are taking this quick and necessary measure to protect the integrity of our long term schedule and safeguard our operation.”

Pacific Coastal Airlines flights on Saturday, January 1 will operate as scheduled. Scheduled flights will resume on Tuesday, January 4.

Customers impacted by suspended operations on Sunday, January 2 and Monday, January 3 will be provided with opportunity to be rescheduled at a later date or receive a complete refund. Customers can visit our website for further information. Pacific Coastal Airlines apologizes to all customers effected by this service disruption.

Pacific Coast Airlines announces Summer 2022 Schedule

Thanks to MW

30 October 2021

Check Out our Summer 2022 Flight Schedule

Take advantage of additional flight options. Book your summer trip today.

Origin and DestinationSunMonTueWedThuFriSatWeekly FlightsHighlights
Vancouver – Victoria4x4x4x4x4x4x1x21 Improved minimum connection times between YYJ and other destinations
Vancouver – Powell River4x4x4x4x4x4x2x26
Vancouver – Bella Coola1x1x1x1x1x1x1x7New daily service
Vancouver – Trail2x2x2x2x2x2x1x13
Vancouver – Williams Lake2x1x2x1x2x1x1x10
Vancouver – Comox2x2x2x2x2x2x0x20All non-stop flights (no more stops in YBL )
Vancouver – Campbell River3x3x3x3x3x3x2x12All non-stop flights (no more stops in YQQ)
Vancouver – Port Hardy1x2x1x2x1x2x1x10Evening flight Sunday to Friday will operate on Saab
Vancouver – Bella Bella1x1x1x1x1x1x1x7New daily service – all flights will operate on Saab
Vancouver – Tofino1x1x1x1x1x1x1x7Flights will operate on Saab, Sunday to Friday. New Saturday service.
Victoria – Kelowna2x2x1x2x2x2x0x11
Victoria – Prince George1x1x1x1x1x1x0x6
Vancouver – Cranbrook1x1x1x1x1x1x0x6
Vancouver – Masset1x1x1x1x1x1x1x7New daily service – all flights will operate on Saab
Vancouver – Penticton1x1x1x1x1x1x1x7New daily service
Vancouver – Kamloops1x1x1x1x1x1x0x6

Book With Greater Peace of Mind.

We’re offering unlimited ticket changes for customers who purchase flights by January 31, 2022. Travel worry-free. Learn more.

For ultimate peace of mind and the ability to cancel and receive a refund to the original form of payment, we recommend booking a refundable Encore Fare.

Volunteer ambassadors return to YQQ

From Comox Valley Record – link to source story – Thanks CW

Volunteers Elsien and Mike outside the Comox Valley Airport. Photo submitted
Volunteers Elsien and Mike outside the Comox Valley Airport. Photo submitted

The YQQ Ambassadors will be on-site daily, sending off and meeting select flights

Jul. 22, 2021

With the reduction in domestic travel restrictions, the return of Air Canada and the enhanced summer schedules from Pacific Coastal and WestJet, the Comox Valley Airport is bustling with activity.

Thursday, July 15 marked the return of the YQQ Ambassadors, the Comox Valley Airport’s volunteer force, after an absence of nearly 16 months.

“On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic,” said Mike Atkins, CEO of the airport.

“By the end of that week, the ambassador program was suspended, the first of many changes implemented to mitigate risk and ensure the safety of the staff and public. I am extremely pleased to welcome the ambassadors back, not only for the benefit of travellers but also as an indication of a cautious return to leisure travel.”

Alex Robertson, operations manager for YQQ added the program has been in operation since before the current terminal was built.

“… some of our dedicated volunteers have been serving since that time. They provide information and assistance to both arriving and departing passengers, playing a vital role in the passenger experience.”

The YQQ Ambassadors will be on-site daily, sending off and meeting select flights.

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.”

Pacific Coastal introducing NEW improved internet booking engine

June 22nd, 2021

We are excited to introduce our improved internet booking engine and new Apple/Google wallet electronic boarding passes for a quicker and more convenient online customer experience.

The new internet booking engine offers a simplified and modern aesthetic look that formats to mobile, tablet, and desktop devices allowing for easy navigation. The flight search has been updated to be transparent about our three fare families, Bravo, Classic and Encore, to help customers choose the product that best meets their needs.

We now offer the ability for customers to check-in online in a mobile-friendly user experience and can now choose to download an Apple/Google wallet electronic boarding pass.

You can book today using our new internet booking engine or check-in online.

At this time our current QuikPass portal, Travel Agent portal, flight status, and manage my reservation feature remain the same. Over time we will continue to upgrade these parts of our website to offer an improved online self-serve user experience.

Comox Valley Airport CEO cautiously optimistic about summer

From Comox Valley Record – link to source story – Thanks to CW

Airlines, increased schedule returns to the Comox Valley Airport

ERIN HALUSCHAK | Jun. 10, 2021

The Comox Valley Airport is hoping travel may increase this summer as passengers become more comfortable flying again. File photo

The Comox Valley Airport is hoping travel may increase this summer as passengers become more comfortable flying again. File photo

Looking ahead at the summer, Mike Atkins is cautiously optimistic.

He knows there is pent-up demand for travel, but understands there needs to be a level of comfort and safety for passengers with pandemic and post-pandemic travel, particularly in aviation.

Atkins is the chief executive officer of the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ), a role he took over in the midst of the pandemic in October 2020. While he is relatively new at the position, as the former 19 Wing commander, he understands not only the Comox Valley but the aviation industry as well.

As with other airports across the country and world, passenger numbers have plummeted throughout the past year, but he is hopeful some signals from airlines operating out of the airport indicate signs of recovery to the hard-hit industry.

“Starting at the end of the month, all airlines (from YQQ) have a very aggressive schedule,” he noted. “We’ll go from very little to having four airplanes remaining overnight.”

Atkins said as a whole, the airport was always able to remain fully staffed since the start of the pandemic, thanks to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit which assisted in covering more than $700,000 in wages. They also received funding from the provincial government for ongoing operational costs and have applied for funding through the Regional Air Transportation Initiative, a $206-million federal government program to aid in the return in services in regional air transportation.

At the start of the pandemic, YQQ lost services from Air Canada; Pacific Coastal Airlines paused their operations to and from the airport to Vancouver for about a month and while WestJet reduced their flight frequency, they did not pause their service and continue to service the airport.

“(At the end of the month) Pacific Coastal will offer three flights daily, WestJet will fly to Calgary twice a day and will have a direct to Edmonton flight, along with WestJet link (to Vancouver) and a direct flight to Toronto. Right now, Air Canada will fly three days a week, and that may change to daily service,” said Atkins.

In terms of the return of the Comox to Puerto Vallarta direct flight in the fall, Atkins noted there is still uncertainly around international travel as he is unsure what government regulations may be in place by then.

“We are always looking at new routes and opportunities,” he added.

With hopes of travellers returning, one of the main projects currently underway at the terminal building is the relocation of the pre-board screening area. Atkins explained the goal is to increase the distance between passengers in addition to the holding room, particularly when there are multiple flights arriving and departing.

On June 23, the Comox Valley Airport will host their virtual annual general meeting at 3 p.m. For more information, visit

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.

Pacific Coastal Airlines’s Trail Base Celebrates 15-Year Anniversary

April 6th, 2021

Pacific Coastal Airlines is proud to celebrate 15 years of service to the Trail Regional Airport on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

“We’ve enjoyed serving the residents of the West Kootenay region over the past 15 years and look forward to many more to come,” says Pacific Coastal’s Vice President of Commercial Services Johnathan Richardson. “We’re proud to be part of the community.”

Our service operates non-stop flights between Vancouver South Terminal Airport and Trail Regional Airport six days a week currently. To celebrate our 15-year anniversary in Trail, we are sharing local places to check out for your future visits to Trail!

Columbia Gardens Vineyard and Winery Estate is nestled in the heart of the Columbia Gardens Valley near the Trail Regional Airport. Check out the Burl tasting room that features all their wines and thoughtful gifts.


A name that reflects Trail’s historic connection to mining, refining, and smelting, this brewery has a strong community focus and a great selection of craft beer. You can find Trail Beer Refinery downtown on Bay Avenue.

A local cafe, serving breakfast, lunch, and freshly roasted coffee. Hand roasted, hand-blended, & hand packaged, the Trail Coffee Co. team works hard to create your perfect cup of joe.


This bridge is part of the Trans Canada Trail’s Society’s Great Trail and is bike, stroller, scooter, and wheelchair friendly. Once across continue along the banks of the Columbia River to the Victoria Street Bridge and complete this quick and easy river walk loop.

Trail is just minutes from world-class skiing at Red Resort in Rossland BC. Outdoor lovers will also find a vast network of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and mountain biking trails in the area.

Committed to Ensuring a Safe Journey

Pacific Coastal Airlines has adopted additional safety measures to ensure the health and wellbeing of staff and customers. The measures include enhanced aircraft sanitation practices, physical distancing at airport facilities, reduced contact points, and the requirement for all customers to travel with a face mask and answer health check questions before boarding. Learn more about the additional safety measures online.