Short life for Vancouver flight

WestJet announced it is discontinuing the morning flight between Kamloops and Vancouver due to poor performance.

KAMLOOPS — After less than four months of service, WestJet informed the Kamloops Airport Authority it will discontinue the morning flight between Vancouver and Kamloops by the end of the month.

Operations Manager Ed Ratuski says they just received formal notice the WestJet route would be shut down March 1, well before the April 26 date the company originally proposed.

“They recognize it's not performing as well as expected,” Ratuski says. “They don't have enough aircraft in the Encore fleet to maximize service to Kamloops.”

A limited number of planes in the fleet means limited times and frequencies and in Kamloops that resulted in a less than optimum time for travellers, 9:46 a.m. into Kamloops and 10:16 a.m. out of the city.

“I'm a little bit surprised, but not really,” Ratuski says of the decision. “That's a really slow time of day.”

Ratuski says the company has been doing well with the additional Calgary flights though and will look at resuming the Vancouver flight as they take on more fleet, though it is unknown when that could possibly be.

While the morning WestJet flight has not fared well passenger numbers have continued to rise at the airport, with more than 29,000 travellers in January, a 10.6 per cent jump over January 2013. Sun Peaks has continued to have a great season and poor driving weather over the month helped keep the number of winter travellers up.

“Everybody's been doing really well,” he says, adding even WestJet continues to see growth. “Since they started service in 2008 their numbers continue to grow. I fully expect to see them back.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.

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