Smithers Airport ( supplied by: Taylor Chartrand)
The Smithers Regional Airport found it was one of the least expensive airports for airlines to operate during a Province-wide survey.
The results from the survey were presented on Tuesday nights (Jan16) council meeting.
The survey was completed to compare Smithers fees to 15 other airports across the province.
The survey broke into 5 separate groups, airline arriving cost, airline departing cost, airport fee charged to each departing passenger, total airline cost and cost per seat.
According to the survey, it found Smithers had the 2nd lowest parking fees for a 7 day period for vehicles with the cost being $20. The airport also had the lowest five-week parking rate for aircraft parking at $75.
Smithers Regional Airport charged the airline $431 to arrive at the airport and there was no charge to depart compared to Prince Rupert where the airline was charged $1,872 to arrive and another $1,872 to depart.
Even though there were numerous factors that led to Smithers being one least expensive airport the survey found it had the most expensive Airport Improvement Fee in the province and ticket prices were more expensive.
Rob Blackburn, Smithers Regional Airport Manager said the ticket prices are out of the airport’s control.
“Former Mayor Taylor Bachrach and myself did meet with Air Canada a couple of years ago and brought this to their attention that we felt the tickets in Smithers were quite expensive and they did promise us to try and make it uncomfortable for business travelers to go to Terrace and fly to Terrace,” he said.
MyBulkleyLakesNow.com tried to contact Air Canada but did not hear back in time for publication.
Councillor Gladys Attrill said the ticket prices the airlines are offering in Smithers is unfortunate.
“The citizens here deserve the same consideration especially this time of year, driving down the road on icy- slippery roads in order to achieve a premium benefit in another community seems like a disservice to the people here,” she said.
Blackburn plans to meet with the existing airlines to strengthen partnerships and to work on how the airport can lower fares and increase passenger volumes.