Study will examine airport needs

Summerland to contribute $4,000 to examine Penticton Airport use

Summerland council has given its support to an air service study for the Penticton Regional Airport.

The municipality will contribute $3,000 from the Economic Development Fund towards the study.

The City of Penticton has been making efforts to improve the quality of air service out of the airport and has contacted surrounding communities, including Summerland, to ask for financial assistance.

The cost of the study is $30,400. Of this, $10,000 will come from the City of Penticton and $4,000 will come from the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.

Summerland’s share of the RDOS contribution is roughly $545.

Princeton, Keremeos, Osoyoos and Oliver have also been asked to contribute funding.

The purpose of the study is to create a business case for Air Canada to upgrade the aircraft used on the Penticton to Vancouver route from a Dash 8-300 to a Q400.

A Dash 8-300 airplane has 50 seats, while a Q400 has 74 seats.

The study is to show there is sufficient market demand to fill the additional seats in the larger aircraft.

In addition, the Q400 has modern avionics equipment, which would be an improvement from the older technology in the Dash 8-300 aircraft.

Consultants will also look at possible schedule changes or changes in frequency of service.

The airport study would also review the current service provided by WestJet to determine if the market could support additional weekly service to Calgary.

Coun. Janet Peake said the economic development of the regional airport is important to the community of Summerland.

Coun. Erin Trainer said some questions should be asked before funding the study. The request for funding was on the council agenda on the same day as Greyhound announced it was eliminating bus routes throughout Western Canada.

Coun. Doug Holmes wondered how a study of the airport will fit with the municipality of Summerland.

The motion to provide funding was approved, with Holmes and Carlson opposed.

Summerland Review