Air Canada putting extra summer flight back on schedule

Noon run to Vancouver will be available again on date yet to be determined

When the extra Vancouver flight was cancelled last fall, Penticton Airport manager Dave Allen was sure it would be back on the books in time for the 2014 tourist season.

He was right, as Air Canada revealed they are putting the noon flight back on the schedule, though the start date is yet to be released.

“They move their planes around in winter. I have no reason to think it won’t come back next summer,” said Allen in September. “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.”

Allen is happy to see the flight back, as is Mayor Garry Litke, who called it a “much-needed flight in Penticton.”

The addition of an extra Vancouver flight in April 2013 was seen as a victory after months of lobbying both Westjet and Air Canada for both increased service to Vancouver and the addition of direct flights to Calgary.

But Litke said the city hasn’t given up on the ultimate goal of getting a regular flight between Penticton and Calgary.

“They (Air Canada Jazz) should be aware we are having discussions with WestJet and I would expect they would want to maintain their competitive advantage by offering better service to the citizens of Penticton and the South Okanagan,” said Litke.

Westjet continues to consider Penticton’s request for a direct to Calgary flight, according to Litke, who hopes as more planes are manufactured to fill the needs of WestJet’s regional carrier, Encore, Penticton will get its flight.

“Even if they chose Penticton as a route to Calgary, it wouldn’t happen until the  spring of 2015,” said Litke. “We are aware they just assigned that new route to Kelowna and Fort McMurray, which has some advantages for Penticton. We can probably use that to our advantage as well, but we still want to have our own route to Calgary, so we will continue to push for that.”

While he hasn’t been given a confirmed schedule yet, Allen said the additional Vancouver flight will probably be at a similar time to last year, when it arrived in Penticton at 12:12 p.m. and was back in the air by 12:35 p.m.

He also expects it to be the same size plane, a 50-seater DeHavilland Dash 8.