December 9, 2020 By Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River’s latest small-scale commercial airline Cascadia Air has started flight routes from Campbell River to Pitt Meadows on the Lower Mainland.
The air-taxi’s passenger flight operations were set to begin earlier this year in March but was stalled as the COVID-19 pandemic began. Instead, Cascadia Air pivoted operations to transport essential goods and services to smaller remote communities across B.C.
The air-taxi started its passenger route three weeks ago with three daily flights scheduled between Campbell River and Pitt Meadows during weekdays and two flights a day on weekends.
Owner and pilot in command Jeremy Barrett said that the route from Campbell River to Pitt Meadows provides passengers with an easier option to travel to places like Surrey, Abbotsford, Langley and Coquitlam on the Lower Mainland without having to go to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in Richmond.
“Most people are accustomed to flying to YVR and then getting a rental car to travel to other destinations on the Lower Mainland. So we’re giving people the option to connect to these smaller airports where usually the big airlines don’t fly to,” said Barrett.
With a small fleet of Piper PA-31 aircraft, it makes it easier to fly in and out of smaller airports and that’s what Cascadia Air is offering commuters – a chance to comfortably get in and out of small airports where bigger jets can’t go, said Barrett.
The eight-seater plane is carrying only six passengers at the moment and Barrett says that it’s the perfect solution for families that want to travel in their own bubble during the pandemic. Cascadia Air also undertakes chartered flights on demand. They plan to develop a series of interconnected network routes within B.C. and some of the future routes include connecting destinations within Vancouver Island too.
The service will also expand soon to include flights from Qualicum Beach to the Lower Mainland, said Barrett.
Since the air-taxi service is not running on a fixed schedule, there’s also room for flexibility, said Barett. For instance if there are passengers in between the routes that need to be picked up, they can be picked up along the way.