Pacific Coastal Looking back on 35 Years

15 September 2022

Pacific Coastal Airlines History Timeline

Pacific Coastal Airlines was founded by Daryl Smith 35 years ago. The truck logger in Bella Coola, a small community on the central coast of British Columbia, decided to get a pilot’s license and purchased a small seaplane to make it easier to get in and out of remote camps. Some friends chipped in for fuel to tag along and thus began the adventure that led to Pacific Coastal Airlines.

Daryl earned his reputation through forty-two years of aviation experience as a pilot and owner of several regional carriers during the most significant era of aviation history in the province. That legacy of dedication and hard work continues with his son, President Quentin Smith, intimately involved in all aspects of the aviation business started by their father. A legendary figure in British Columbia aviation, Daryl received numerous awards and accolades from his peers and industry associations alike.

It began in 1987, with the merger of Powell Air and Air BC Port Hardy seaplane operation. The name Pacific Coastal Airlines was chosen from five company names that Air BC owned at the time. “Pasco” was then born, providing floatplane service into the mainland communities and interline with Air BC’s Dash 7 scheduled flights between Vancouver and Port Hardy.

The launch of our daily scheduled twin-engine wheel aircraft service from Port Hardy to Bella Bella and Vancouver started in 1988. This service utilized a seven-passenger Piper Navajo. In 1990, we introduced our first pressurized turboprop aircraft. The Beech King Air was purchased to meet increased demand and improve service levels on the Vancouver and Bella Bella route.

Pacific Coastal’s corporate culture has always had a shared value of giving back to the people and the communities we serve. In 1992, the Pacific Coastal Airlines’ Annual Charity Golf Tournament was launched. Over the years, with the hard work of Pasco volunteers and the generous support of sponsors, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised to support BC-based charities.

We introduced our first 705 aircraft in 1995 – the Shorts 360. This aircraft introduction was to help meet the growing demand on our central coast destinations as well as fishing lodge charter opportunities. In 1998, Pacific Coastal entered a Capacity Purchase Agreement with Canadian Airlines to operate as a “Canadian Partner” by providing service from Vancouver to Nanaimo, Comox, and Campbell River operating on the Shorts 360 aircraft.

In 1999, we introduced the Saab 340A aircraft. Three Saab 340 aircraft were then added to further enhance service levels and to expand Pacific Coastal’s network “reach”. This began the replacement of the Shorts 360 aircraft and lead to the acquisition of a further seven Saab 340 aircraft.

Our Community Sharing program was established in 2016. We support families in need within our network each Christmas and provide gift certificates for utilities, food, warm clothes, household items, and gifts from Santa for the children. This is all been made possible by internal fundraisers by staff.

In 2017, Pacific Coastal Seaplane division obtains an independent Air Operator’s Certificate and rebranded as Wilderness Seaplanes Ltd. Today, as Pacific Coastal’s affiliate airline, Wilderness operates seaplane service to more than fifty coastal communities from bases in Port Hardy on northern Vancouver Island and Bella Bella.

In 2018, Pacific Coastal Airlines enters a Capacity Purchase Agreement (CPA) with WestJet and becomes the operator of WestJet Link. WestJet Link was created to connect smaller cities in British Columbia and Alberta with WestJet’s domestic hub at the Calgary International Airport.

Over the years, Pacific Coastal has provided air travel for Special Olympics BC athletes, coaches, and volunteers to attend events all over BC and help with ongoing fundraising efforts throughout the year. In 2019, we celebrated our 20-year partnership with SOBC and are a proud member of the Special Olympics BC Hall of Fame.

Pacific Coastal Airlines also generously donates space on its flights to transport animals to and from BC SPCA shelters across the province. These flights allow animals to receive urgent medical care and gives animals their best chance of adoption by moving them to shelters in more populated areas.

Today, Pacific Coastal operates a fleet of 19, which includes a mix of Saab 340A and B and Beechcraft 1900C and D. Our network continues to encompass major ski destinations, a multitude of fishing lodges, outdoor and wildlife adventure tours, and authentic Indigenous experiences. As we look back on our history and celebrate our 35-year anniversary, we’re proud to see the growth of Pacific Coastal Airlines. With over 400 employees in British Columbia and Alberta, Pacific Coastal continues to grow and provide essential service, and it all started with a former truck logger with a great passion for aviation.

For our 35th anniversary, we’re not just recognizing how far we’ve come, we’re celebrating what lies ahead, and we’re starting our next chapter by thanking you.

We’re offering 35% off our network for your next trip with us. Use promo code SUPERPROMO22 when booking your next flight for travel between January and March 2023. Terms and conditions apply. Visit our website to book today.

We look forward to welcoming you onboard and thank you for choosing to fly with Pacific Coastal Airlines!

Pacific Coastal Airlines’ 28th Memorial Charity Golf Tournament

June 17th, 2022

It was a great day! More than one hundred and fifty golfers and sponsors from across British Columbia and Canada, with some from as far away as Dallas, came together to raise a record amount of money for local charities at Pacific Coastal Airlines’ 28th Memorial Charity Golf Tournament on Thursday, May 26. The event was held at Mayfair Lakes Golf and Country Club in Richmond, British Columbia, which has been the host site of the tournament for many years.

View full-photo album here

The golfers and sponsors, along with a spirited team of Pacific Coastal volunteers, raised ninety thousand dollars after expenses, which will be distributed to B.C.-based charities including the Source Club Society of Powell River, Power To Be, and the Heiltsuk Community Men’s Wellness Group.

The tournament was started in 1992 to raise funds for the Source Club Society of Powell River, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people living with serious & persistent mental health conditions. Its mission is to help adults with mental illness integrate into society, find meaningful employment, and achieve healthy and productive lives.

Since its humble beginnings, the tournament has raised over five hundred thousand dollars for local charities. The second charity, Power To Be, which is based in Victoria and Vancouver, is a non-profit organization that believes everyone belongs in nature. Power To Be began in 1998 with an idea: to help people living with a disability or barrier access nature.

In addition to these two important charities, a third charity representing a different destination served by the airline is added to the list of recipients every year. This year’s third charity, the Heiltsuk Community Men’s Wellness Group, which supports men of all ages to come together to connect and learn to heal through land-based, ancestral teachings.

The annual tournament is a labour of love for Pacific Coastal employees, and their enthusiastic and dedicated commitment to this tournament, and many other community events held across B.C. each year, underscores Pacific Coastal’s corporate culture and a shared value of giving back to the people and the communities we serve.

A big thank you to all our sponsors for supporting the Pacific Coastal Airlines’ 28th Annual Memorial Charity Golf Tournament this year – link

Pacific Coastal Airlines Resumes Flights Between Cranbrook and Kelowna

June 7th, 2022

Richmond, BC – Pacific Coastal Airlines will be resuming service between Cranbrook (YXC) and Kelowna (YLW) effective September 12, 2022

“Pacific Coastal Airlines is excited to resume service between Cranbrook and Kelowna. We have received significant customer feedback requesting the return of this 55-minute non-stop flight.” Johnathan Richardson – VP, Customer & Commercial Services | Pacific Coastal Airlines

“I’m once again delighted to see Pacific Coastal Airlines commitment in the east Kootenay air travel market. In 2013, Pacific Coastal Airlines connected the East Kootenay and the Okanagan with direct non-stop air service to Kelowna, essential for health services, tourism and business development. Today’s announcement to resume this service is cause for great celebration.”  Tristen Chernove – CEO | Elevate Airports Inc.

 “We are so pleased to see this route with Pacific Coastal return between Kelowna and Cranbrook. It is important that we are able to once again provide these regional connections for BC residents.” Sam Samaddar – Airport Director | Kelowna Airport.

The non-stop flight service will operate three days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, using the 19-passenger pressurized turboprop Beech 1900. The aircraft offers comfortable seating, 6-foot cabin height, and generous cargo capacity.

Flight schedule:

RouteFrequencyFlight #DepartingArrivingEffective
Cranbrook to KelownaMonday, Wednesday, and Friday8P65510:50 a.m.10:45 a.m.12-SEP-2022
Kelowna to CranbrookMonday, Wednesday, and Friday8P65611:50 a.m.1:45 p.m.12-SEP-2022

Tickets are now available for purchase. To book a flight visit pacificcoastal.com, contact our Call Centre at 1-800-663-2872, or speak with your travel agent. Pacific Coastal Airlines is currently offering 10% off flights between Cranbrook and Kelowna with promo code YXCYLW10Visit our website for more information.

 About Pacific Coastal Airlines
Pacific Coastal Airlines is a privately-owned British Columbia based regional airline operating from Vancouver International Airport’s South Terminal (YVR) that currently flies to 18 airports in British Columbia. Connecting to additional destinations along the south coast of British Columbia through its affiliate airline Wilderness Seaplanes, located in Port Hardy on northern Vancouver Island. Pacific Coastal is also the operator of WestJet Link, providing service from its base in Calgary to Cranbrook, Lethbridge, Lloydminster, and Medicine Hat.

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.

Quote(s)

“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
Total:$18,811,536

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.”