HAWKAIR is closing its Terrace-based reservations office in favour of blending that function with that of its sister airline, Central Mountain Airlines, in Smithers.
Each is now using the same booking software, making the transition easier and more efficient so that passengers can deal smoothly with both airlines, Hawkair president Jay Dilley said today.
But it also means the loss in Terrace of jobs for two full-time employees, six part-time ones and two casual workers.
Dilley said the decision reflects a general downturn in passenger traffic this year.
“Traffic has been down generally 10 per cent this year but in the last three months it’s accelerated – 12, 13, 14 per cent,” he said.
Dilley noted that Hawkair is not alone as the other two airlines serving Terrace – Air Canada and WestJet – have also experienced a drop in traffic.
“That’s why Air Canada isn’t flying to Calgary anymore,” he said of a decision made by that airline in the fall after starting the service in late spring.
This is the third move made by Hawkair this year to control expenses – it pulled out of Smithers in the summer and just last week announced it was suspending its Prince Rupert service for at least the winter.
If Central Mountain and Hawkair are combining more services internally, they are also combining flight offerings.
That’s because Central Mountain will be using a Hawkair Dash 8 on its Terrace-Prince George-Kelowna route.
Dilley said it was hard for Central Mountain to meet demand on that route with its 19-seat Beechcraft aircraft.
“The Dash 8 is just larger,” said Dilley of Central Mountain needing a way to carry more passengers.
He said the Terrace-Prince George-Kelowna route is popular for people interested in leisure activities, visiting family or on business.
But in order to serve that route, Hawkair is trimming its Terrace to Vancouver service.
On some days, Hawkair will be flying to Vancouver just once a day, down from two flights a day.
Editor’s note: A quote in the above story from Jay Dilley about a decrease in traffic has since been clarified. It is in reference to Northwest Regional Airport traffic as a whole. In fact, says Dilley, Hawkair’s passenger traffic through Northwest Regional Airport has either increased or has stayed the same this year. Still, he added, there is overcapacity and the airline had to adjust its Terrace to Vancouver flight schedule accordingly.