Hawkair president Jay Dilley.

Hawkair president Jay Dilley.

Hawkair offers discount for Bulkley Valley flyers after Smithers closure

Bulkley Valley residents will receive discounted flights from Hawkair after the carrier closed its Smithers office on August 1.

Bulkley Valley residents will receive discounted flights from Hawkair after the carrier closed its Smithers office on August 1.

The carrier confirmed today it will introduce a promotional code for 20 per cent off flights from Terrace.

President Jay Dilley said the code would be distributed through the airline’s mailing list within the next few days.

“We’re looking forward to getting the guests that were travelling out of Smithers to Terrace and travelling on one of our aircraft and be able to save a lot of money in the process,” said Dilley.

Hawkair’s last flight left Smithers on August 1. The carrier had been running one return flight from Smithers to Vancouver on a 37-seat Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft daily.

Dilley attributed the cancellation to low passenger numbers caused by significant downturns in the Canadian economy and resources sectors.

Cheaper ticket prices for flights from the Terrace Northwest Regional Airport were also luring traffic away from Smithers, he said.

Air Canada is reviewing its schedule for fall and winter after the closure of Hawkair, but it will not increase flights to and from Smithers before the end of summer.

The airline told The Interior News it planned to make a decision on whether to increase flights to Smithers in the near future.

“We can advise that for the balance of summer, Air Canada plans to remain at three Air Canada Express flights daily, operated by Jazz Aviation LP with 50-seat Dash 8 aircraft,” media spokesperson Angela Mah said.

“We are currently reviewing our schedule for this fall and winter, and we expect to make a decision in the near future.”

Central Mountain Air also runs several flights to and from Vancouver weekly.

Dilley said Hawkair could reopen locally in the future if conditions improved.

“We’re looking for a [passenger] load of around 60 to 70 per cent for us to be really engaged and interested in coming back to the market but we are going to just monitor the traffic and if we feel that we’re going to be able to enter the market and hit those numbers then we would revisit entering for sure,” said Dilley.

Hawkair cancelled its Smithers service once before in 2003, also due to low passenger numbers.

It restarted in 2007 when ticket prices from the Smithers Regional Airport increased.