Trail mayor expresses disappointment over loss of Trail-to-Kelowna flight services
The City is disappointed to learn that Pacific Coastal Airlines (PASCO) will discontinue the Sunday through Friday Trail to Kelowna flight out of the Trail Regional Airport (TRA) with the last scheduled flight being May 15, 2015. The airline did not experience the necessary user-uptake to justify its continuance at this time.
“We were hopeful this route would be well-used by leisure, business and medical travelers in the region; however the numbers show us this is not the case,” said Trail Mayor Mike Martin.
“We did put in every effort and worked with PASCO as part of creating public awareness as well as trying to get the necessary business buy in,” he added. “We also worked closely with the regional economic development office, Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC) and the Kelowna International Airport on a multilevel marketing strategy to further enhance awareness and increase passenger numbers both in Trail and in Kelowna. Our goal was to reach all potential markets with the benefits of safe, affordable and reliable 30-minute service between the Kootenays and the Okanagan.”
Although this news comes as a great disappointment, the city remains hopeful for a Trail-to-Kelowna service out of the TRA if it better addresses the market demand. The city has alternate plans to gather traveller needs and wants in the region by partnering with the LCIC.
“Through this partnership, our goal is to put together the necessary statistically-valid marketing data that will consider if the Kelowna or other routes can be supported out of TRA at this time,” said Martin. “Council is committed to improving transportation links in the West Kootenay and will do everything possible to provide service to this market where there is a demonstrated demand. If convenient, air access to the Okanagan or other locations can be demonstrated as part of a solid business case analysis; we will then look to pursue a service provider. A detailed marketing study will include important information like route demands, preferred travel time, reason for travel, transportation connections, how much travellers are willing to pay as well as other relevant information. Further, this study will form the baseline for any future assessment that may be done in terms of market changes that may occur in the future, should the immediate data gathered not provide the substantive data that PASCO or other potential commercial carriers would need to proceed with a new service.
“The Trail Regional Airport is a vital operation that helps supports the region’s economic growth and activity. We remain optimistic about future opportunities and are continuing to pursue infrastructure improvements that will make the TRA a more viable option through affordable and reliable air access to the region. In addition, the recently published new approach into TRA that lowers ceiling limits is another positive factor that further enhances the attractiveness to the TRA as part of considering new route development.”