As of August 1st, Hawkair will not offer flights out of Smithers.
This comes only four months after Hawkair signed a 5-year lease with the Town for terminal and office space at the local airport.
President Jay Dilley says this decision was made due to fewer flights within the province and a decline in Canada-US exchange rate, partially due to oil, gas, and mining companies cutting back on spending.
“When traffic declines, we have to take a look and say ‘Is it still economically viable to operate into each one of our routes?’ We’ve reviewed the Smithers routes and, unfortunately, it’s not,” he says.
Dilley also says the company has experienced traffic leakage from WestJet, who has been offering competitive prices out of Terrace. Dilley says this is a regrettable circumstance.
“We’ve been well-received in the community and it’s always such a warm and inviting atmosphere. It really breaks our hearts that we just can’t make it economically viable,” he says.
Mayor Taylor Bachrach released a statement via Facebook regarding Hawkair’s decision.
“Council and I are disappointed that Hawkair is suspending its scheduled service out of Smithers. Hawkair has been a valuable contributor to our community through its quality service and generous support for our local events, teams and initiatives.”
According to Dilley, Hawkair will continue to sponsor communal events, and will compensate customers who have already purchased flights departing from Smithers after August 1st.
Dilley says the company is open to coming back to Smithers in the future, and will continue to offer flights out of neighbouring communities, Terrace being the closest.