Pacific Seaplanes will be doubling its daily commercial service to Port Alberni and the west coast due to increased demand.
“A lot more inquiries on service between Port Alberni, Vancouver and the west coast (including Bamfield) has led us to increase the number of services,” Pacific Seaplanes’ owner and pilot Randy Hanna said.
“For Port Alberni, this is good news as tourism and industry are working on some large developments out there, and we realize they would benefit from these services.”
Pacific Seaplanes also sees an uptick in business to Sproat Lake in the summer. They use the long dock at Sproat Lake Landing in West Bay as a terminus.
“Summer is a wonderful time for families getting together (at the lake) so there is a demand.”
While the company would like to offer an early-morning flight, foggy weather is still a challenge to consistent service, he added.
The new flights can be booked immediately, general manager Brenda Hanna said.
Pacific Seaplanes, based in Cedar, B.C., started in 2015 and operates with a fleet of four twin and single-engine seaplanes that can seat three to nine passengers depending on the aircraft. Details on flights out of Port Alberni and Bamfield can be found on the company website at www.pacificseaplanes.ca, with scheduled flight service times, terminals and prices listed at pacificseaplanes.ca/flights/scheduled-flights.
Pacific Seaplanes moved to temporary moorage at Tyee Landing on Saturday, May 25 to accommodate the tenders ferrying passengers from the MS Maasdam cruise ship to Centennial Pier. Scenic flights were available for cruise passengers, but wet and windy weather kiboshed those plans, Hanna said.
“As a first-time event it was important for us to be there to contribute to the community, which we were happy to do.”
They made do with the temporary tie-up but said it wasn’t ideal for cruise passengers to communicate with them about scenic flights because Harbour Quay and Tyee Landing aren’t well connected. Several people remarked at the lack of a sidewalk, Hanna said.
“We were able to help the deputy director of technical operations of Holland America with a flight to Vancouver,” Hanna added. “That was a welcome addition. He thought it was a terrific service; he was just thrilled.”