Smoky skies interfere with commercial air service in South Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Smoky skies interfere with commercial air service in South Okanagan

Air Canada spokesperson Debra Williams reports four flights into and out of Penticton were affected by smoky conditions.
August 14, 2018 - 1:36 PM

PENTICTON - Visibility issues caused some flight cancellations at the Penticton airport this week.

What was once mainly a winter issue — poor visibility resulting in commercial flights having to cancel flights or abort take-offs and landings at Penticton Regional Airport — is now also a summer issue after poor visibility caused by smoke restricted commercial aircraft movement.

Four Air Canada Express flights were scrubbed into and out of Penticton on Aug. 12 and Aug. 13 as a result of smoke and the resulting visibility issues, Air Canada spokesperson Debra Williams says in an email. She says the airline has been operating Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 and Dash 8-300 aircraft on the route.

“Our operational personnel are closely monitoring operation into the area. We would recommend passengers check with the Air Canada website for more information on their respective flights,” she says.

WestJet spokesperson Lauren Stewart says the airline has been conducting normal operations into and out of Penticton, although she says a Boeing 737 heading into Kelowna last week was diverted due to smoke.

“Overall, all is running normally,” Stewart says in an email.

WestJet is in the process of designing new GPS-based approaches to Penticton, utilizing a modern navigation system known as Required Navigation Performance to improve efficiencies into the Penticton airport. Commercial carriers dealt with a number of cancelled flights in Penticton last winter after exceptionally poor weather conditions plagued the airlines.

The City of Penticton made a pitch to Air Canada and WestJet to upgrade air service to the city in early July.

To see if wildfire smoke is impacting Air Canada flights in Penticton or Kelowna go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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