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Letters to the editor

This week's letters


Page 6 of 8

To fly in and out of an airport in all weather conditions as most people are used to doing requires a lot of considerations regarding backup procedures. In aviation you always think about the what ifs. The reason the Dash 7 is one of the few aircraft that could be certified for use in Pemberton is because being a four-engine aircraft it is the only turboprop aircraft that could lose an engine and still be able to climb out of the valley if the weather wasn't good enough to land. Satellite technology is good enough today to get a reasonable approach into the Pemberton Valley for a Dash 7 type aircraft. The question still is though, does it make business sense? Dash 7 type aircraft are short haul aircraft. This means the only destinations it could be expected to serve are Vancouver and Seattle. Does it makes sense to fly to Whistler via Pemberton from Vancouver? I don't think so. The fact is in most cases you could drive here quicker from YVR for a lot less money. The Seattle market is a little more promising but it is still a regional market prone to mostly weekend use and probably limited given the likely high ticket prices that would be required to justify the low utilization that you would get with a winter service constrained by daylight, weather and fog.

The best business case is the one that Intrawest proposed using 737 type aircraft to satisfy the medium haul markets of North America. The problem there is these aircraft require stricter approach and departure procedures due to their size and speed. I would like to be proved wrong, but I just can't see a 737 getting approval from Transport Canada to make that sharp 60 degree turn on short final that would be required for a landing at Pemberton. The fact is for these type of aircraft the Pemberton airport is in the absolute worst location in the Pemberton Valley. It is not aligned with the valley, it is right at the base of a huge mountain and it is in the fog pit between the rivers. Of course it was never created with that purpose in mind.