Opinion

Hawkair shouldn't move to main terminal

An open letter to:

Hawkair General Manager Rod Hayward

Hawkair Marketing Director Darryl Tucker

Dear Sirs:

I read with considerable concern about your company's recent decision to move its Vancouver terminal from the South Airport to the Main Terminal at Vancouver International Airport effective April 2, when Hawkair's quick and convenient Vancouver Island inter-connection service will also cease.

I understand the corporate and business reasons for your decision. Mr. Hayward, you were quoted in The Terrace Standard on-line edition of January 24 as saying, "It's not an easy decision to make, but we just looked at the long-term growth potential, and the convenience of the main terminal."

I simply disagree with you, and with Hawkair's business reasons them, both as a customer and also as a member of a Terrace-based family whose members have used your company's services regularly between Terrace and Vancouver for the past decade.

I live in Vancouver. As a customer who has had the enjoyment of flying Hawkair on occasion, and as a person who has the equal enjoyment of going to the South Terminal to pick up family members and their luggage, or drop these people off for their flights north several times a year, I am completely unmoved by the purported benefits to your firm corporately as a result of this move.

One of the major marketing advantages Hawkair enjoys are due to the fact that it operates from the South Terminal, where:

* Access and parking are far, far easier and less expensive than at the Main Terminal;

* The atmosphere and ambiance of the South Terminal is much, much more relaxed than at the Main Terminal;

* The South Terminal is much, much less crowded and busy than the Main Terminal

* There is no focus on the terminal being a destination shopping mall and hotel complex, like that of the Main Terminal; and

* The distances inside the South Terminal between the Hawkair ticketing and customer-service station, the convenient coffee shop with its blessedly short or non-existant queue, the single security gate with the smiling guards, the simple luggage pickup and the airplane to all of these aspects are far, far shorter.

As a result of all this, it takes considerably less time, money and complexity for a customer to go into the South Terminal, drop off their luggage, pick up their boarding pass and fly off, or for somebody to pick up passengers who simply deplane, wait no more than five minutes for their luggage to appear, and leave a moment later, than in the Main Terminal.

As for the business side of the equation, the security impediments are much less intrusive and onerous at the South Terminal, and this will become even more evident as the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority continues to expand its authoritarian control and fee structure over the facilities of major airports in this country.

I also suspect the airport expenses, costs of infrastructure support, facility leasing and airplane taxiing issues are much less complex at the South Terminal than at YVR's Main Terminal. This means, I believe, that the costs of your airfares will also rise to be essentially the same as that of your competitors relatively soon after your move to the Main Terminal as you pass along all these increased expenses to your customers.

You should also consider that, by moving to the Main Terminal, you lose all of these important competitive advantages that distinguish Hawkair -- important in the eyes of your customers -- from your competitors on the north-south leg of your main flight corridor. In other words, at the Main Terminal you'll simply become one of the undistinguished.

In brief, the entire customer experience of using a Hawkair flight to or from the South Terminal is considerably more pleasurable and less expensive than that encountered in the Main Terminal.

And you are in business because of your ability to attract customers, correct? And aren't we more important to Hawkair's 'long-term growth potential' than 'the convenience of the Main Terminal'?

Peter Morgan,

Vancouver, BC

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