If you board it, they will fly. If you don’t, wave bye-bye.
This week marked the return of non-stop flights between Kamloops and Toronto, but the frequency and duration of the service has been reduced considerably from last year’s introduction of the route.
Last year, passengers could choose from three flights per week, from late June to early September. This year, there is one flight per week — Thursdays just after noon — with service running from July 4 to the end of August.
The reasons given for the reduced service are connected to the federal government’s grounding of Boeing Max 8 planes following two deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. The grounding of the Max 8 aircraft means Air Canada had to pull some Airbus A319s from the Rouge fleet — planes used in the Kamloops-Toronto run — to fill in for the non-flying Max 8s.
But ticket sales also factor into the fate of flights at Fulton Field, as passengers in Kamloops know well.
Flights to Edmonton and Victoria have come and gone, while service to Calgary and Vancouver is often tweaked based on numbers. As Kamloops Airport managing director Ed Ratuski noted, if area residents desire a service, such as the Kamloops to Toronto run, seats need to be booked.
And, based on a survey of fares, flying out of Kamloops, as opposed to Kelowna and Vancouver, makes sense.
For example, a return flight to Toronto from Kamloops, leaving Aug. 22 and returning Aug. 29, is $627 (not including seat selection, checked baggage or travel insurance).
That same flight (not including seat selection, checked baggage or travel insurance), from Vancouver is $660.
That same flight (not including seat selection, checked baggage or travel insurance), from Kelowna is $637 and includes a one-hour layover in Edmonton.
If you have any reason to travel east this summer, either to Toronto or points beyond, fly out of Kamloops. You will save time and money and, possibly, help save the service from going the way of the dodo bird.