An initiative to bring chartered air service to Revelstoke this winter has failed to get off the ground.
“I think we got out the gate a little too late on it,” said Alan Mason, the City of Revelstoke’s director of economic development. “I think people are keen for next year, but we have to make sure all our ducks in a row.”
The plan was to have charter air service land at the Revelstoke airport every week in February and March this year. Several local tourism stakeholders, including the Revelstoke Accommodation Association and Revelstoke Mountain Resort, were planning a partnership in which they would guarantee the cost of reserving the plane for eight weekends, estimated at about $50,000. “To be sure that we can access the planes, we would have to essentially guarantee the charter company that they would have these funds to book the flights,” wrote Mason in a letter to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
Tourism Revelstoke applied for $25,000 from the Economic Opportunity Fund to cover part of the cost, and the matter was set to go before the board of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District this Thursday.
However, when the Review contacted Mason for more information, he said the proposal was off the table for this winter because of the delay in getting started.
Mason explained they would have used the money to guarantee the plane’s availability, and that the funds would be recouped through ticket sales.
“The idea would be we’d set up a charter company to fly in here on weekends for a couple of months to demonstrate it’s a viable service, with the hope somebody would pick it up in future years,” he said. “Our intent would not be to run it on a full-time basis. It would be to try and demonstrate there’s a market for the service and then hopefully someone in the private sector would be interested in taking it on.”
However, because they didn’t start looking at this until last month, it was decided there wasn’t enough time to market the flights and it would be better to wait until next year.
They also have to address issues, like what happens if the plan can’t land in Revelstoke due to weather, and has to be diverted to Salmon Arm or Kelowna.
“If you go to start something like this you want to make sure it’s a good service,” said Mason.