Air travellers in the south Okanagan no longer face the prospect of driving to Kelowna so they can fly to Vancouver.
Earlier this week, Air Canada announced that it was suspending its operations at Pentiction Regional Airport, citing low demand arising from COVID-19 and ongoing travel restrictions.
The indefinite stoppage was to start Jan. 11, which would have forced travellers to visit Kelowna for direct flights to Vancouver. But on Friday, Pacific Coastal Airlines announced new flights to YVR.
Pacific Coastal Airlines says the flights will operate six days a week, Sunday to Friday. The plane will be a 19-seat turboprop Beech 1900D model. The new flights will begin Jan. 11.
There will be one flight a day from Penticton to Vancouver, and one flight a day from the south terminal at Vancouver International Airport to Penticton.
From Penticton, planes will leave YYF at noon Monday to Thursday, and at 4:05 p.m., Friday and Sunday.
From Vancouver, planes will leave YVR at 10:40 a.m, Monday to Thursday, and at 2:45 p.m., Friday and Sunday.
To see the schedule, click here.
“We have been discussing the opportunity of expanding our network in the Okanagan and are pleased to announce that we will be starting service between Vancouver and Penticton in January,” said Johnathan Richardson, vice president of commercial services with Pacific Coastal Airlines.
“I’m sure I speak for all residents and travellers who rely on scheduled access to air travel, we couldn’t be happier to receive this news,” said Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki.
“Regular flights at our airport are critical to ensuring it stays top-of-mind as an active and viable travelling option to and from our city.”
Travel Penticton, which promotes tourism, also welcomed the news.
“The connection from Penticton to Vancouver is important for both our visitors and residents of Penticton and the south Okanagan for recreational and business travel,” said executive director Thom Tischik.
“The daily weekday and Sunday flights will become very popular over the coming months and will be a definite asset to Penticton and area.”