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Regular flights to Pemberton could start by Nov. 1

Second proposal for air service pitched but decision needed quickly



Pemberton council has been told by a group of businessmen that they could have a five-day-a-week passenger aircraft service operating out of Pemberton airport by Nov. 1 st .

The hitch is that Pemberton council has got to approve the group’s plan by July 15 th or there will not be enough time before winter to get the operation running.

Blaine Haug from Prime Air, Jim Bond from the Ventana Construction, Lawrence Black from Black’s Pub and Restaurant in Whistler and Peter Anderson from Galvin Air in Seattle presented Pemberton council with a proposal this week that could become one of the most pivotal pre-Olympics developments in the Sea to Sky corridor.

Their proposal would use aircraft from Voyager Airways to fly between Pemberton and Seattle’s Boeing Field.

This was the second such proposal Pemberton council has seen. Intrawest, Alaska Airlines and Westjet pitched a similar proposal two months ago. Alaska Airlines is also based in Seattle.

In the meantime, airport consultant Bill Neale and Pemberton council have been working on a 10-year plan for the airport.

The findings of Neale’s report are expected on July 6 th . Councillor Mark Blundell, who is also the president of the Airport Committee, said Pemberton council will not be prepared to make recommendations until they have seen Neale’s report.

"We’re listening to everybody but we don’t want to be making any decisions until we see how the report’s going to be and how we’re going to get to where we want to be in 10 years," said Blundell.

Haug said the purpose of his meeting with council was to deliver a clear message: "We’re ready to go now, and we believe we can make it happen."

"We want scheduled charters up and running five days a week for this winter season," said Haug.

"But we have a lot of work to do in the meantime. We need to work with Tourism Whistler, we need to work with Rez-Rez, we need to work with the hotel people.

"We want to try and mirror what they’ve done in Sun Peaks last year, they guaranteed Horizon (Airlines) to fly into Kamloops so they could service their resort and they had the best season they’ve ever had.

"I know there’s a lot of guys around here (who) are poised and ready to help us out, we don’t have many of them formally identified yet but that’s what we’re going to pursue in the next two or three weeks."

Haug said he would be approaching a number of the larger hotels in Whistler in attempt to pre-sell or "guarantee" seats.