For the time being, WestJet is the only airline offering a weekly winter flight from the Comox Valley Airport to Mexico now that two other companies have pulled their services to Puerto Vallarta and Cancun.
Transat Holidays and its member Nolitours will no longer offer charter flights to either destination due to financial struggles. Transat suffered an operating loss of around $29 million in the first quarter of 2012.
The airport will “continue to work hard to secure new air service for YQQ,” spokesperson Christianne Wile said.
“We do believe our business case for a new service is excellent, and our overall passenger loads are up by 11 per cent this quarter in 2012,” Wile said, noting 2,500 more passengers flew to Mexico in 2012 than the previous year.
“Whatever airline would be willing to establish service, we’re willing to work with. We’ve heard from WestJet that the Puerto Vallarta route is doing very well. I think Comox passengers have shown that they were utilizing all three service options.”
In 2011, YQQ served about 310,000 passengers, more than 8,500 of whom were charter or sun spot destination passengers.
“It’s not a huge impact to our passenger numbers,” Wile said of the reduced number of weekly flights to Mexico. “More of a concern for us is our ability to provide our passengers with a variety of destination options from YQQ…Our concern is with being able to offer the service and to offer a route that works for our passengers and works for the airport.”