Despite an announcement by Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem at the Nov. 25 council meeting, the airlines serving the Prince Rupert airport say they have no plans to bring larger planes to the region.
During his Mayor’s Report, Mussallem said he received news that the community will be serviced by Q400 planes, planes that would increase the current flight capacity from 50 passengers on the Dash 8-300 to 74 passengers on the Q400 and increase cruising speed from 531 kilometres per hour to 666 kilometres per hour.
On Nov. 28 Air Canada released a statement through the Prince Rupert Airport Authority distancing itself from the announcement. The company said it would “continue to provide a high quality service to our community using the Dash-8 300 series” and would provide service using a regional jet and a Dash 8-400 “when circumstances require”.
Hawkair also said it has no plans to change planes from the Dash 8 to the Q400.
Prince Rupert airport manager Rick Reed said the confusion may have resulted from an email indicating a one-time Q400 Air Canada plane arriving at YPR to handle a backlog of cargo resulting from flight diversions earlier this year.
Although the existing airlines may not be changing their plans, the airport could soon see the arrival of a new airline. Canada Jetlines Ltd. announced its intentions to begin offering low-cost jet service with two planes next summer, a fleet expanding to 16 planes by 2017, and listed Prince Rupert as a potential market. However, the launch of the airline depends on the company’s ability to raise funds and secure investors.
JetLines said it could offer flights on the Prince Rupert to Vancouver route for as little as $93.