Floatplane companies flying in and out of Sechelt are suspending regular flights in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sunshine Coast Air suspended its scheduled flights earlier this month, but is still offering charter, freight and emergency travel flights.
“The scheduled service has been put on hold in support of the social distancing and to help halt the spread of the virus,” Sunshine Coast Air’s Josh Ramsay said in an email to Coast Reporter.
The airline has closed its offices in Sechelt, Nanaimo and Tofino, although there are agents working to answer phone calls and email.
Harbour Air, the largest commercial floatplane operator in the province, said in a March 26 update on its response to COVID-19 that it would suspend all scheduled service starting Saturday, March 28.
“As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to spread throughout the province and with safety as our top value at Harbour Air, we have decided that it is in the best interest of our employees and our customers to cease all Harbour Air scheduled service flight operations,” the statement said.
“We understand the impact that this decision has on the communities we service, and because we don’t want to leave anyone stranded, as we are deemed an essential service in the province, we will continue to offer charter services which will include private flights, freight and government support services as required.”
The company had previously made a number of changes throughout its system, discontinuing trips to Pitt Meadows and Seattle but flying on a limited schedule, including one daily flight out of Sechelt to Nanaimo and one to the Richmond/YVR floatplane terminal.
The company said it hopes to resume regular service on May 4.