The Cariboo Regional District is hopeful that service reductions at Anahim Lake Airport by Pacific Coastal Airlines won’t be necessary.
Pacific Coastal Airlines announced Wednesday it would begin making temporary reductions to its regularly scheduled service starting next month due to the reduction in available runway length.
“We knew that would be inevitable if we weren’t able to increase the runway length at the airport,” said CRD manager of community services Darron Campbell. “We’ve been working towards that increase length for many years and we’re dealing with Transport Canada to be able to open that full runway length.”
Campbell added the request to Transport Canada to remove the restriction was made Thursday.
The runway length was extended with an improvement project in 2011.
“We’ve been working ever since then to get some of the other airport improvements in place that would allow it to be opened. So we had it open for a while through 2017, 2018 but then we had an audit from Transport Canada and there were some other minor airport improvements that were going to be necessary for us to keep it open,” Campbell said. “So we’ve been working on resolving those issues; things like a fence line and some other minor items that we have resolved now, so I think we are in compliance and again we’ve requested from Transport Canada that the runway be open.”
Besides Pacific Coastal Airlines, many charter and private planes use the airport which is a key driver for tourism and recreation.
The Anahim Lake Airport provides not only a vital transportation link to the area but is the quickest way to be evacuated when a medical emergency occurs. It also provides support for the BC Wildfire Service during wildfire season.
“The Anahim Lake Airport is a vital transportation hub in the West Chilcotin and Central Coast, and Pacific Coastal Airlines is a key partner in providing flight service for the area,” said Margo Wagner, Cariboo Regional District Chair.“We are optimistic Transport Canada will respond to our request for full runway access as soon as possible, so Pacific Coastal will not need to reduce services. This situation is too important to be delayed.”