After 20 years of service in the Comox Valley, Central Mountain Air is grounding their flights to and from the Comox Valley Airport.
Frank van Gisbergen, chair of the Comox Valley Airport Commission said the airport was advised the company is suspending its operations from YQQ earlier this week, effective the end of February.
“There’s definitely some impact when you take out a number of flights a day and some conveniences for our passengers,” he noted, and added it will affect some flights and scheduling.
Central Mountain Air currently serves the airport with up to seven daily flights Monday to Friday from Comox to Vancouver return and up to three daily flights on weekends.
CMA scheduled service will be discontinued on Feb. 22, confirmed the company.
“Overall, we don’t see a huge impact in terms of revenues to the airport, but to the employees of Central Mountain Air which we regret, as well the ground crew which will have to make some adjustments.”
He explained from a scheduling and financial point of view, he doesn’t see a “huge impact,” but said the airport is looking “at opportunities to fill some of the gaps,” and added Pacific Coastal and Air Canada will continue with their return service to Vancouver from Comox.
van Gisbergen said the move did come as a surprise to CVAC.
“Like anything else, we didn’t have any warning as to this happening. We knew they had some reduction in loads – we were aware of that – but we were not expecting a dramatic change like this.”
He noted the commission is looking at options, and said the change could be an opportunity for another airline to look at the Comox Valley as an airport destination.
Douglas McCrea, president of CMA, explained in an emailed statement the company has seen a large increase in capacity over the last few years with the entry of the major airlines directly and indirectly.
“This in turn has driven our passenger loads down, and along with increased airport costs, have led to our decision.”
He added all passengers holding existing travel tickets will be contacted and re-accommodated.
Susan Davies of Square 1 Travel & Cruise in Courtenay said the change will be “a huge impact right now and anyone we’ve already got booked with Central Mountain Air.”
She called the stop in service “a big impact,” unless another airline takes over the flights.
“Central Mountain Air has a lot of terrific schedules which connect with a lot of flights from here to different places around the world. Unless someone else steps up and covers that time slot, it is going to affect a lot of people.”