Despite lowest airport fees, ticket prices remain higher in Smithers

Report indicates Smithers airport cost to airlines are half those of nearest competitor airport

Although Smithers airport’s (YYD) passenger fee is comparatively high, that is not why it is so expensive to fly out of Smithers according to a recent report to council.

At council’s Jan. 14 regular meeting, airport manager Rob Blackburn and Ellena Schuffert, a co-op student working with him, presented the results of a survey comparing fees at 15 other similar-sized airports in the province.

“The survey results should not be viewed as an opportunity to increase fees,” the report states. “Airport staff feels the comparisons should be utilized to find each and every location where fees can be reduced to create a positive economic environment where air operators and land tenants will want to expand into. Having low fees should assist in attracting businesses and encouraging airlines to offer competitive fares.”

In fact, Smithers already has the lowest fees in the North in almost every category. Comparing only direct competitor airports in Terrace, Prince Rupert and Prince George the total cost for an airline to operate at YYD is half what it costs at the next cheapest airport. Smithers charges $432 while Prince George’s fee is $968.

Terrace charges airlines $2,574 and in Rupert it is a whopping $3,744.

Breaking it down by seat, the report indicates total cost to airlines is $5.54 (Smithers), $12.41 (Prince George), $33 (Terrace) and $48 (Rupert).

Despite this, ticket prices are consistently $100 or more cheaper out of Terrace and often out of Prince George for a flight to Vancouver.

Smithers Acting Mayor Gladys Atrill said it is frustrating.

“Passengers feel that they’re paying too much,” she said. “This [report] doesn’t change that pain, but it makes it more evident that the cost that is being charged per passenger does not relate solely to the fees and the costs of the airline using the airport.”

Atrill said she believes it comes down to lack of competition at YYD.

“The passenger price ticket is being charged simply because it can be charged,” she said.

The Interior News has requested an explanation from Air Canada, but did not receive a response as of press time.

Atrill said previous efforts to put pressure on the airline have been unsuccessful.

“There have been conversations with Air Canada over time,” she said. “In my last council term, Air Canada representatives were here, they were at a meeting with the Chamber [of Commerce], so they’ve heard that. It’s not that they don’t know, but I think their planes for the most part fly full… so, they are able to charge that rate and it’s just really a frustrating thing here. At the same time I’m grateful that we have Air Canada coming in here, we need to have a major carrier. I would love it if we were able to have another carrier, so it’s a bit of a dilemma.”

Air CanadaAirport

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

CGL must revise impact assessment on Unist’ot’en Healing Center

Environmental Assessment Office not satisfied with report’s shortcomings

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Confusion surrounds terms of RCMP withdrawal from pipeline construction area

B.C. Deputy Commissioner clarifies terms of agreement following minister’s statements

Stop checks, searches of Wet’suwet’en pipeline opposers unlawful: Watchdog

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs file complaint

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

UPDATE: Two missing scout leaders found near Sooke after swollen creek traps troop

Third leader and scouts located, prior to search for two leaders who’d gone for help

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

CRA puts focus on paper returns as tax-filing season opens

The federal tax collector expects to handle about two million paper returns this calendar year out of roughly 26 million filings

Teck withdraws application for Frontier mine, citing discourse over climate change

The Vancouver-based company said it will take a $1.13-billion writedown on the Frontier project in Alberta

Most Read