Patti Marsh (left) of Pacific Coastal checks in passengers Mike Sharko and Henriette Alne for the first flight from Campbell River Airport to Bella Bella.

First flight to Bella Bella opens the door both ways

Pacific Coastal's new flight schedule to Bella Bella will be good for local business in Campbell River

Pacific Coastal launched its inaugural flight between Campbell River and the central coastal community of Bella Bella Monday morning.

The flight, which was scheduled to depart Campbell River Airport (YBL) at 10:30 a.m. was full.

“It’s pretty exciting to see the inaugural flight already sold out,” Kevin Boothroyd, Pacific Coastal’s director of sales and marketing, said at a launch event Monday. “It’s an indication of the pent-up demand.”

The flight, which will originate out of Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and will be serviced by Pacific Coastal’s Beechcraft 1900 plane, runs once a day, three days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

It will depart Vancouver International’s south terminal at 9:30 a.m. for Campbell River where it will leave at 10:30 a.m. for arrival in Bella Bella at 11:30 a.m.

The return flight is scheduled to depart Bella Bella at 2:15 p.m., leave Campbell River Airport at 3:45 p.m. and arrive at YVR at 4:25 p.m.

Acting Mayor Mary Storry said the new service will be a boon for both Campbell River and Bella Bella.

“This new scheduled route will provide a variety of opportunities for our respective communities,” Storry said. “Local businesses working in the mid-coast will be able to transport their work crews and freight more efficiently and affordably.”

Storry added it will also provide better access to medical services for those living in Bella Bella.

“Our mid-coast neighbours will now easily be able to conduct business and receive medical attention at our soon to be new hospital in Campbell River,” Storry said.

The service is also aimed at benefitting resource-based companies in the fishing, logging and energy sectors.

Susan Sinnott, chair of the Campbell River Airport Authority, said she already knows of at least one person who will use the service for that particular reason.

“I was talking to a friend of mine in the fishing industry and he said it’s going to be a great thing for them,” Sinnott said. “He’s going to be using this route.

“It can only do great things for the community.”

As part of the new service, Pacific Coastal is planning on basing its Otter seaplane in Bella Bella in order to provide connections to Klemtu, Ocean Falls and other points.

Bella Bella is a small community located 181 kilometres north of Port Hardy on Campbell Island.