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Air Canada introducing shuttle to Kelowna when Castlegar flights are cancelled

The airline would then fly between Kelowna and Vancouver
Air Canada is adding a bus service option for weather-related cancellations at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline

Air Canada will be offering a bus service for cancelled flights in and out of Castlegar for the rest of the winter.

West Kootenay Regional Airport manger Maciej Habrych and the airline have been working out the details of the service since Air Canada management visited the city this summer.

“We heard loud and clear … about some of the challenges that we have from an operational point of view mostly when it comes to limited visibility in Castlegar,” Air Canada representative Serge Corbeil told city council on Dec. 18.

He said the airline is looking at the shuttle service as a way to mitigate the consequences of cancelled flights during inclement weather.

If there is a last-minute weather-related landing or takeoff issue, the airline will re-route the scheduled flight to Kelowna. The bus would then run between Castlegar and Kelowna. Utilizing the service is optional and passengers could choose to make other arrangements.

Local transportation provider Kootenay Charters has been contracted to provide the bus service.

For now the service is scheduled to operate through the winter, but Air Canada said they will evaluate the year-round need in the spring.

The bus service has been on five runs since the beginning of December, carrying 250 passengers.

Meanwhile, WKRA’s long-awaited Required Navigation Performance (RNP) application is still in the hands of regulators at Transport Canada.

RNP is the computer-based procedure that the city has been hanging its reliability improvement hopes on for the past six years. It is a set of navigation specifications that use GPS along a precise flight path to create a high level of accuracy, offering significant safety benefits over traditional approaches. RNPs are used in airports worldwide.

Air Canada says it will continue to support Castlegar’s efforts to secure the procedure.

“From a long-term perspective, we have been readily assisting the airport, along with our operating partner Jazz, in supplying any assistance they need on their submission with RNP AR improvements at the airport,” said Air Canada representative Ranbir Singh.

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Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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