Vernon, B.C.’s airport could soon take a major step forward.
Cascadia Air, a small B.C. airline, is proposing to run scheduled flights to Vancouver out of the regional airport.
Cascadia Air lands at Penticton airport
It would be a big change for the small facility, as Vernon Regional Airport currently doesn’t have regularly-scheduled flights, only charter flights and private planes.
“We are excited,” said the City of Vernon’s manager of economic development and tourism, John Perrott.
“This is a good stepping stone for us to bring that air service…directly into the community and for visitors to have a new way to experience Vernon in a really quick way.”
Two close calls at Vernon skydiving festival
Perrott believes the new scheduled flights would boost tourism and help locals get to the Lower Mainland quickly for business trips, medical appointments, or to see friends and family.
“When you talk to our tourism operators, access is everything and that doesn’t matter if it is air access or driving access. The easier we can make it to get from the Lower Mainland to our destination…is a really positive thing for us overall,” Perrott said.
The airline plans to use small six to eight-passenger planes and feels it can carve out a niche market in Vernon for those looking for a quicker way to get to the coast.
“The amount of flights that we do is essentially limitless if we have the load factors to support it. Our hope is that the residents who do not want to travel to the larger airports…would be able to use our services on a regular basis and it would obviously be more cost-effective and more efficient for them to do so,” Cascadia Air president Jeremy Barrett said.
Cascadia Air’s president says he wants to keep ticket prices under $300 one-way.
“Our prices are going to be fairly stable. We are not going to float our prices up and down based on the day or the week,” Barrett said.
“Generally speaking, our prices will be consistent whether you book today or book in a week from now. So you know what you are getting.”
While services at the Vernon airport are limited, the company believes the type of schedule it is planning will fit in well.
“Because of the class of airport that Vernon is, we would be able to fly from Vernon to and from Vancouver unsecured, meaning no security. The airport itself does have a small terminal but because we are flying small aircraft we don’t have to accommodate a large number of people,” said Barrett.
“What we will be doing is working with the airport authority to use the terminal space for our flights to process our passengers in and out and some of those things are yet to be determined.”
Vernon’s tourism manager is pitching it as a “simper airport experience.”
Barrett said Cascadia Air could start its Vernon service as early as mid-June.
The city believes other airlines will see this new route as a test case, and if it is successful, bring in flights of their own.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.