Air Canada flights will resume to Prince Rupert Regional Airport (YPR) starting on June 19, Rick Leach airport manager said on March 9, and flights can be booked starting today.
“We’ll be able to meet the summer demand, that usually starts to kick in at the beginning of June.”
While he had some concerns about the financial health of the airport and had to make financial arrangements with the City of Prince Rupert for loan payment, Leach said the announcement to resume flights has ‘come just in time’.
“We couldn’t have gone much further without financial hardships,” he said. “We were getting to the end of funds that we had accumulated to get us through. But they’ve (the City of Prince Rupert) been very supportive.”
“It’s good that we’ll have service here throughout the summer for the implications to the tourism side of business, which kicks in with the fish camps and such,” Leach said. “So, you know, we’ll be able to meet the demand that I expect that’s going to be there.”
When asked what he thought triggered the reversal in Air Canada’s decision to provide flights, he said the availability of COVID-19 vaccines may have attributed.
“I think the primary point was, they’re centered around vaccines and when Air Canada is assuming that there would be a demand, which I believe is tied to vaccines, and then the loosening of restrictions,” Leach said, “… I think this is all sort of coming together, that they (Air Canada) feel that there will be a demand and people will feel comfortable traveling.”
Leach said he believes this is not another temporary decision but one that will remain.
“I think this is a permanent decision. I don’t believe we’ll go through this again, unless, of course, something happens in the world of corona virus, but it looks like things are coming under control,” he said.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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