Sunday, February 08, 2009

Pacific Coastal Airlines

One of the easiest ways to get to and from Powell River, BC, is by air. If you have your own airplane, you can fly into the Powell River Airport (CYPW). For most of us, the best choice is Pacific Coastal Airlines.

Pacific Coastal had its origins in Powell River. Powell Air Ltd. flew Convairs out of Vancouver and Powell River and float planes from the government dock on Powell Lake. In 1979 they merged with the Port Hardy division of AirBC creating Pacific Coastal Airlines. From these humble beginnings, Pacific Coastal now serves fifteen cities in BC from two hubs, Vancouver's South Terminal and Port Hardy.

Pacific Coastal's fleet of planes is matched with the destinations they serve. They include the Saab 340 and the Shorts 360 (both 30+ passenger turboprops), the Beechcraft 1900 (a 19 passenger turboprop), the Beechcraft Super King Air (an 11 passenger twin), and the Grumman Goose and the de Havilland Beaver (floatplanes). In addition to their scheduled runs they also provide customized charter services.

I catch Pacific Coastal at Vancouver International Airport's South Terminal. If you are arriving at the main terminal, they provide a courtesy shuttle service. Pick-up points include Pillar 2 on the international arrival level and outside doorway "F" on the domestic arrivals level. I have a tradition when I arrive at the South Terminal. I stop at the Skyway Cafe for a Kokanee and a bite to eat while I wait for my plane. This counter restaurant provides excellent salads, sandwiches and my favourite, wonton soup. It's just the thing to tide me over before having dinner when I arrive in Powell River.

Pacific Coastal has a new discount program for frequent fliers called Quick Pass. Benefits for placing $2,500 on account include: discount price, late booking with no extra cost, cancellation or change with no extra cost, online booking, share with family and friends. This really works out well for Wayne and I.

I know I'm almost home when I hear the co-pilot over the intercom, "Please fasten your seat belt, we are beginning our descent into Powell River. If anyone needs a taxi upon arrival, please raise your hand." Now that's service! So, come fly with Pacific Coastal Airlines and I hope your destination will be Powell River, the "Pearl of the Sunshine Coast." - Margy


  1. What a wonderful and deserving post about Pacific Coastal Airways.

    When I first came to the Islands they were serviced by Canadian Airlines and I am ashamed to say(because they were my all time fav airline)they didn't know they went to the Charlottes! So I flew to Prince Rupert and took a float plane to Masset(YMT) on the north end of the island!

    We are still serviced by Air Canada who lands in Sandspit(YZT) daily. There was much ** and whining from the north end so they lobbied airlines to land in Masset. A total of 4 regional airlines in the time I have been here tried to make a go of it and took a lot of islanders for a ride(financially). Pacific Coastal started four years ago by servicing the sport fishing lodges and offering seats to locals when there was space. They now service us daily and are a valued part of the community. They are reliable and not too big for their "britches"! On a space available basis they will fly pets for passengers and dogs & cats free" for the BCSPCA when necessary unlike our other airline!
    I agree with you they are the best way to fly...great post!
    P.S. Re: the BOMB Squad - we are 7 communities(no island governance) with a total of 5000 people(2 logging, 2 first nations,2 fishing, 1 recreational). Islands often are created by strong independant people, so everyone wants to do their own thing, as a result organizations and industry get very frustrated because they won't work with just one community(too small).

    I did a call for action for a trail clean up several years ago and twenty people showed up and they all had their own ideas about how they wanted to do things..... so frustrating!

  2. Hi Carolyn - As I said in my e-mail I think one of the reason that Pacific Coastal serves their customers so well is because their crews live in the cities they serve. That is a pretty unique situation even for a regional airline. - Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy