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Trail, B.C. flights unchanged during Olympics

Dec. 29, 2009, Trail, B.C. – Although competitor Air Canada plans to curtail flights out of Castlegar, B.C. in January, a smaller family-owned airline says its Trail schedule will remain essentially unchanged through the winter and Olympic season.


December 29, 2009
By The Canadian Press

Dec. 29, 2009, Trail, B.C. – Although competitor Air Canada plans to curtail flights out of Castlegar, B.C. in January, a smaller family-owned airline says its Trail schedule will remain essentially unchanged through the winter and Olympic season.

Pacific Coastal's adjustment, however, will be substantial. Planes will depart from Castlegar instead of Trail from Jan. 29 to March 3. But the number of flights won't be cut.

"Our rationale for that … (is) we anticipate that we could pick up a little bit of traffic (in Castlegar) just because we're there,'' explained vice-president Spencer Smith.

The commitment comes during a period when the airline is otherwise planning to scale back its operations by 30 per cent across B.C. It is projecting a substantial decline in demand for
travel during the Games.

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The company will wait out a two-month moratorium on health-related flights operated from remote First Nations reserves, though that necessary business will return once the Games are gone.

But some revenue might just be gone.

"The business travellers, they're going to be avoiding Vancouver like the plague,'' said Smith, noting that expectations of heavy traffic and unavailable hotel rooms will likely make an impact.

Hopeful predictions by Olympic boosters that the Games would increase tourism-related travel have yet to show promise, Smith said.

"So far, we have no indication that that's going to happen,'' he said.

If it does, the airline is staying flexible. Smith said it's ready to add flights to meet demand.

Trail residents hopping on a flight will still check in, as normal, at the Columbia Gardens airport between Jan. 29 and March 3.

From there they'll be shuttled to Castlegar where they will go through security screening and board the plane.

Planes will begin leaving directly from Trail again on March 4, the soonest possible date once Vancouver's extra Olympic security restrictions end.