This fall, Penticton will be back down to three Air Canada flights a day between Penticton and Vancouver.
The addition of an extra Vancouver flight was something of a victory this spring, after months of lobbying both Westjet and Air Canada Jazz for both increased service to Vancouver and the addition of direct flights to Calgary.
The noon flight has only been operating since April, but airport manager David Allen said that though the flight seemed to be popular, the move by Air Canada Jazz to reduce flights isn’t unexpected.
“I think it came down to a winter schedule. They move their planes around in winter. I have no reason to think it won’t come back next summer,” said Allen.
“It went well from our perspective.
“It had a lot of ridership on it.
“I don’t know if it was up to Jazz’s expectations. I think it was fine.”
Angela Mah, Air Canada spokesperson, issued a statement that the winter schedule between Penticton and Vancouver remains consistent with what was operated last winter: three daily flights operated with 50-seat Dash 8 aircraft.
“The timings have in fact been adjusted to improve the afternoon departure from Vancouver to Penticton from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m, reflecting comments from the Penticton community requesting a later flight to enable a fuller business day for Penticton business travellers,” said Mah.
The new schedule, with flights leaving Penticton at 6:10 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. takes effect Oct. 27.
Mah said they will be reviewing and finalizing next summer’s schedule in the coming months.
In 2011, Penticton Airport served approximately 80,000 passengers; however, market analysis identified that the total air travel market is more than 210,000 annual passengers — sufficient to support an additional daily flight to Vancouver and two daily flights to Calgary.
“A Calgary flight is the thing this airport needs,” said Allen, commenting on the ongoing demand for a direct flight.