A selection of charter flights will soon be available between Revelstoke and Vancouver.
The City of Revelstoke, in partnership with the Revelstoke Accommodation Association (RAA) and Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) will be supporting Revelstoke Air once again.
Thirty-two flights return flights are scheduled for three months, beginning on Jan. 12. They are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Sunday flights will be added for the month of February. The planes are chartered through Pacific Coast Airlines.
The flights are available through Everything Revelstoke and cost $329 for a one-way ticket and $658 return.
“Exchange hours of travel time for hours of shredding waist-deep powder,” says the website. “That’s right, City to Slope in one hour.”
You can see the runs at Revelstoke Mountain Resort from the tarmac at the Revelstoke Airport.
Last year, 16 flights were offered in the winter and the City of Revelstoke had committed $37,500 from the Economic Opportunity Fund (EOF) to guarantee the flights.
The charter flights were offered for the first time last year and 405 out of 480 seats over the 16 flights offered were sold.
“I would say 85 per cent occupancy is pretty close to sold out,” said Mayor Mark McKee in August. “I would say there was more demand and people asking for more flights at more times to better accommodate them coming to the community.”
According to the financial statements of Revelstoke Air, which is operated by Everything Revelstoke, the service made $86,400 in 2017, but had expenses measuring $111,078.
The City, RAA and RMR split the difference and the city’s share was $7,600, paid for out of the EOF, not taxpayer money.
According to a charter service budget projection included in the contract for 2018, if all seats on all flights this winter are filled, the charter service would make $17,983.38. If they are only 85 per cent full, the projection is running in the red $10,225.30. If only 50 per cent of the seats are filled, the charter would run a $108,981.20 deficit.
Nicole Fricot, director of community economic development with the City of Revelstoke, said that a major area of growth for Revelstoke is tourism.
“Access to Transportation within and to Revelstoke was identified in the most recent Economic Development plan as well all previous economic development plans (The ICSP) as being integral to future Economic Development and growth,” said Fricot. “Flight service is a piece of this plan.”
At a regular city council meeting on Nov. 14, council voted unanimously to support the motion to “reauthorize notice of its intent to provide assistance” to the charter service.
There was no discussion on the matter, but when council voted in favour of doubling the service earlier this summer, they had more to say.
“It really is key to developing the community and becoming more vital,” said councillor Connie Brothers in August. “The cost is small compared to the benefits we get from it.”
Councillor Linda Nixon was also in favour of the increase in service, but didn’t want to subsidize services forever.
“I want council to be cautious going into a second year and that we closely monitor what’s going here and we ask for a timely report back to council on what’s happening to the money and the outcomes, because I don’t want to see a bigger loss next year,” she said.
“These types of projects do not become sustainable overnight,” said Fricot. “They are projects that need to be nourished and invested in carefully.”
She sees the charter service as good planning for the future and good advertising for Revelstoke.
“There is something to be said about being a community that is forward thinking and looking for opportunities to invest not only in current Economic Development but Economic Development activities that address potential future demand,” said Fricot.
She said people visit her office who are interested in moving to Revelstoke, or who have recently arrived.
“They see potential here and are excited about the future potential of Revelstoke,” said Fricot. “This is not just about tourists. Business people and investors want to know that they can leave Revelstoke for a meeting or attend a conference in the winter. They are much more likely to move to Revelstoke or invest their business in Revelstoke if they have a flight service option.”
The charter flights are scheduled to begin on Jan. 12, 2018.