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New air access to Cranbrook

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Ski areas in the Canadian Rockies are becoming more accessible as airline connections to Cranbrook increase.

The Cranbrook Airport is in the midst of a runway expansion that will allow larger commercial airplanes to land in the Kootenay town. And with Canada Customs services available the airport can accommodate international flights.

Cranbrook is the service centre for the Kimberley and Fernie ski areas. Located at the south end of the Columbia Valley, Cranbrook also provides access to the Panorama ski area near Invermere and Kicking Horse at Golden.

Meanwhile, flights into Cranbrook are increasing. Last month Vancouver-based Pacific Coastal Airlines announced it has begun daily service between Cranbrook Airport and Vancouver. The non-stop flights – up to three a day – provide scheduling and fare options that the company says weren’t available with Air Canada.

Pacific Coastal Airlines uses a 19-passenger Beechcraft 1900C commuter plane for flights to Cranbrook. The airline has been in operation since 1976 and operates a fleet of 18 aircraft.

Air Canada’s Jazz is the only other carrier with daily scheduled flights to Cranbrook, including Calgary-Cranbrook and Vancouver-Cranbrook.

"It is very exciting to have a new quality air service supporting the region for business and tourism," said Matt Mosteller, director of business development for Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, which owns and operates the Fernie and Kimberley Alpine Resorts.

"Cranbrook Airport is fast becoming recognized as the easiest and most convenient gateway to the Canadian Rockies."

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