WITH more than 100 employees at its peak, chances are you knew one of the pilots, flight attendants or owners.

WITH more than 100 employees at its peak, chances are you knew one of the pilots, flight attendants or owners.

From its conversion from a freight-carrying enterprise to a passenger service in 2000, Hawkair was the little airline that could.

It could offer an alternative to the national carriers, providing basic reliable return service to Vancouver.

Locals embraced the venture and, in turn, Hawkair embraced the community by offering countless tickets to be raffled off by local charities and organizations.

It won Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce awards for not just being a successful business but for its customer service.

But perhaps it grew too fast, expanding to not only other northwestern communities but to the northeast and even Victoria.

That brought on a move to seek protection from creditors in the mid-2000s and a subsequent reorganization leading to its purchase first by a company from Alberta and then by the parent company of Central Mountain Airlines in 2010.

Buoyed then by a rising regional economy in the first part of the decade, Hawkair continued, albeit as a smaller operation. But in the end, with passenger counts declining and stiffer national carrier competition, the inevitable happened.

As much as this is a business loss to the area, it’s also a personal loss to the community.

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