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Angel Flight East Kootenay preps for busy weeks ahead

The local charity will be trying a new flying schedule due to the cost of fuel
Passengers aboard Angel Flight East Kootenay’s newest plane, a Cessna 414a, which can fly above poor weather and keep flights going. (Image courtesy of Todd Weselake / Angel Flight East Kootenay)

Angel Flight will have a lot of bums on seats in coming weeks, with at least one flight every day of the week from now out until May 14.

That translates into 18 flights between Cranbrook and Kelowna, or 47 patients aboard Angel Flights Cessna 414A which it acquired last fall to ensure more reliable service.

Going forward, president and co-founder of Angel Flight East Kootenay, Brent Bidston, said that the organization would be trying out a new flying schedule to help patients plan their hospital visits, and help save Angel Flight some money.

The cost of fuel is a major driver of the decision, according to Bidston. At the beginning of 2022, fuel for a round-trip from Cranbrook to Kelowna on board the 414A was about $630, whereas as of May it was $850.

From now the Cessna 414A will fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays while their smaller plane will fly on other days of the week.

Bidston explained that by setting up a schedule for when they take the larger plane, besides saving some money they can help those who use their services plan their trips, and get more people onto each flight.

“We’re trying to make it to people only have to spend one night in a hotel,” he said.

“On other days we’ll use the smaller plane, so will need the weather to work out,” said Bidston, who added that with summer around the corner that would be more likely.

READ MORE: New aircraft providing more reliable service for Angel Flight East Kootenay
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