Air Canada will be adding a fourth daily non-stop flight from Penticton. The additional new daily Vancouver to Penticton service is scheduled to start May 1, 2013.
“Air Canada has responded to the opportunity to address Penticton’s challenges with respect to the lack of adequate seat capacity and flight frequency to Vancouver.” said Mayor Dan Ashton. “There is a definite need for this service as well as the need for direct service to Alberta, the top two destinations of local passengers.”
Currently more than 50 percent of the local market uses the Kelowna International Airport to fly to these two destinations. The city has been aggressively pursuing enhanced air service for the Penticton Regional Airport (YYF) after forming a stakeholder steering committee earlier this year. Air travel within the South Okanagan was extensively studied using actual ticket data from residents who travel by air from the region. In addition, consultation was carried out with surveys of local travel agencies, airport passengers and 70 key local businesses. Their responses were used to substantiate market demand for non-stop air service to Calgary, as well as the need for an additional daily flight to Vancouver.
In 2011, Penticton Airport served approximately 80,000 passengers; however, market analysis identified that the total air travel market is more than 210,000 annual passengers — sufficient to support an additional daily flight to Vancouver and two daily flights to Calgary.
“We are delighted to increase Air Canada Express service from Penticton to Vancouver which provides additional convenience for people flying between these two cities, as well as more choices when connecting from the South Okanagan to Air Canada’s extensive worldwide network at our Vancouver hub,” said Mark Galardo, director of network planning at Air Canada.
Penticton airport manager Dave Allen said, “It has been a long-term objective for Penticton airport to address the pent-up demand for more services to Vancouver and other destinations. This is very positive for the airport’s customers.”
A City of Penticton delegation flew to Montreal last month to meet with Air Canada officials about the level of air service in the South Okanagan, and the potential opportunities for expanded offerings. The airline currently provides three daily flights from Penticton to Vancouver Monday through Saturday, with two flights on Sundays.