Suddenly Kelowna has gotten a whole lot closer to Trail.
Pacific Coastal Airlines announced on Friday that it would begin flights from Trail to Kelowna on Jan. 12.
Flights will operate six days per week, excluding Saturdays, and is scheduled to leave Trail at 2:15 p.m.
The 40-minute one-way trip is expected to cost approximately $110.
“This is great news for the area and the airport,” said Don Goulard, manager of the Trail Regional Airport.
“It’s been something people have been working on for years. We really needed this. It’s perfect especially in the winter.”
Spencer Smith, Pacific Coastal’s vice-president of Commercial Services, said the company has been studying expanding Trail routes.
“It’s certainly a market we’ve been paying attention to for some time.”
He explained with the start of Pacific Coastal’s new route from Victoria to Prince George, also scheduled to start Jan. 12, it opened the door for restructuring routes and incorporate a Trail-to-Kelowna flight.
“It was a good opportunity,” Smith told the Trail Times. “And the timing is good as well.”
He echoed Goulard’s comments about winter driving conditions and tackling highway passes to get to Kelowna.
Kirsty Tichauer, Pacific Coastal’s base supervisor at the Trail airport, said the flights would be a welcome addition.
“We have had a lot of people who said they would like the service,” said Tichauer.
She said one of the main reasons people have been asking for the flights is to make easier access to Kelowna for doctors’ appointments, especially when winter driving is treacherous.
“The residents of Trail, Castlegar, Nelson and the Kootenay Boundary region have been calling on us to provide this new route for years,” Smith said in a press release.
Smith tempered any hopes that flights to Calgary were next on the list for the Trail Regional Airport.
He said the company has “no intention,” of offering up flights to Calgary.
He said there is already that option for West Kootenay travelers but the Kelowna destination is something they could provide to their customers.
The flight schedule announced in the press release states flights will depart Kelowna International Airport at 1 p.m. arriving at the Trail Regional Airport at 1:40 p.m. The aircraft will depart Trail at 2:15 p.m., arriving back in Kelowna at 2:55 p.m.
Smith stressed this isn’t “a market test.” The company is committed to the Trail-Kelowna route as long as it remains economically viable.