The cessation of commercial air transportation into the Prince Rupert Regional Airport will affect economic recovery and world-wide trade, Mayor Lee Brain said, on Jan. 13.
“Our community is the third-largest port in Canada experiencing significant growth opportunities, and disruptions in any service is a disruption towards growing Canada’s global trade interests and contributing to the economic recovery of both the province and the nation,” Brain said.
“We understand the difficult decisions airlines have to make in light of reduced travel and inaccessibility to relief funding from higher levels of government,” he said. “Our view is that there is quality demand here for consistent air service and we support the Airport Authority working diligently to explore alternative avenues to provide service in the near future.”
Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce (PRDCC) has already initiated conversations with representatives of YPR, regional economic development partners, and local provincial and federal government representatives in order to weigh the effects of Air Canada’s decision. The Chamber of Commerce will launch an aggressive effort to enable the resumption of scheduled flights, it said in a press release on Jan. 13.
Michelle Boomars-MacNeill, president of the PRDCC said the challenges which Air Canada is facing are recognized and understood in the business community, however, an extended closure of the airport will not only affect those whose livelihood depends on airport-related jobs but on a wide array of organizations in the community—which has rapidly become a hub for international trade.
“Our own Chamber members are grappling with the same or greater impacts on their businesses. Yet access to and from our community, especially during the winter season, is of critical importance for our industry and business sectors.”
“We are a major port city, and with the pending investments here and in our neighbouring communities, including proposed improvements to airport-to-downtown transportation, we seek a commitment from Air Canada as to their intentions regarding a resumption of service as soon as circumstances allow,” Boomars-MacNeill said.
“We deeply regret the negative impacts this will have on the Prince Rupert Airport, and on the region’s economy, given Air Canada’s long-standing relationship with the region,” Mark Galardo Air Canada’s vice president of network and planning alliances said, in a letter to PRDCC.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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