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Workers from Kitimat smelter project jetting home for Christmas

Two jets will be descending into the Northwest Regional Airport to pick up workers this weekend so they can get home for Christmas.

The workers are employees of Bechtel, the main company contracted by Rio Tinto Alcan to work on its Kitimat smelter modernization project.

Regional air carrier Hawkair, which has the contract with Bechtel to shuttle workers between Terrace and Vancouver via a charter service using its Dash 8 aircraft, is chartering the Boeing 737s to handle the increased number of Bechtel employees who are leaving.

According to airport manager Carman Hendry, Bechtel arranged for Christmas flights last year but this year asked for larger aircraft to accommodate more people.

One 737 will be landing Dec. 21 and the other Dec. 22. Each can hold more than 100 people, more than Hawkair's regular Dash 8 fleet.

“Last year they did it but with a smaller aircraft. They have more workers this year,” Hendry added.

"It's a one-off type thing," said Hawkair president Jay Dilley. "And we do that for anyone who could utilize the service or wish to have that kind of capacity to do whatever they wanted to do for a charter purpose."

Hendry said the airport will be ready to handle the larger aircraft.

“We need to know their arrival and  departure time so we can clear any snow and we need to make arrangements to have the runway in good shape,” said Hendry.

 

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