One of the new Dash 8-Q400’s at Smithers Regional Airport (Photo courtesy Rob Blackburn)

One of the new Dash 8-Q400’s at Smithers Regional Airport (Photo courtesy Rob Blackburn)

Air Canada brings new Dash 8-Q400 to Smithers airport

Air Canada has made some changes to its fleet serving Smithers Regional Airport (YYD).

Air Canada has made some changes to its fleet serving Smithers Regional Airport (YYD).

Instead of a 54-seat Dash 8-300 aircraft, the airline is now serving the airport with a 78-seat Dash 8-Q400.

And if you’ve ever had to turn back to Vancouver after not being able to land in Smithers, you’ll be happy to know that the new planes might help with that too.

Airport manager Rob Blackburn said that on top of the benefits provided by the added capacity, the plane, unlike the Dash-8-300, can also use YYD’s new landing system.

“[This means] it can come in on a more inclement weather day, it can get in on a lower approach.”

Flight times have changed as well, and the airport will operate on a slightly different schedule.

When asked about “airport tourism” and the number of people who choose to drive to places such as Terrace for their relatively cheaper flights, Blackburn admitted it was on the airport’s radar.

“Flights are quite often a little bit cheaper in Terrace than they are in Smithers and people are taking advantage of the WestJet and Air Canada price war that’s been going on there.”

But he also said that airports work together as a network and rely on each other, adding it’s not traditional competition as much as it is price wars between competing airlines.

Blackburn also said that YYD itself has relatively cheap landing and terminal fees compared to other airports.

“It’s actually cheaper for the aircraft to land in Smithers and take off from Smithers than it is from other [nearby] airports, but that’s not reflective of the price that people pay to fly on that airplane,” he said.