West Coast eyeing major airlines

The West Coast is hoping to lure major airlines to its airport.

Ucluelet Mayor Bill Irving said local officials recently reached out to West-Jet to determine the types of improvements the local airport needs to attract major airlines.

“That’s the level it’s at right now, it’s not a direct pitch for them to run a commuter over here but to say ‘here’s the kind of technology that we need at an airport to consider that’ and try to work with them in developing a long term strategy to service the West Coast,” Irving said.

“We have three airlines running in and out of there and we very much appreciate and endorse them, we don’t want to undermine them in any way but investment at the airport is costly and we want to focus it on what would be good for the future.”

He said the airport’s runway is long enough and thick enough for Dash-8 sized

aircraft, which carry about 70 passengers, to land without problem.

“We’ve invested $5 million-plus in re-asphalting that runway (and) a new terminal facility… The regional district hired a manager for the airport to put all the pieces together and present a unified picture of where we’re going on that airport,” Irving said.

“We’re doing all the bits and pieces that will make this attractive for companies like WestJet to look at in the future.”

reporter@westerlynews.ca