Friday, January 14, 2022

Air Travel had its challenges during recent Prince Rupert weather event

The month of snow and ice had an impact on more than just pedestrians and motorists in Prince Rupert, the Prince Rupert Airport also seems to have suffered from the cycle of snow, extreme cold and freezing rain that we experienced through December and early January.

As we outlined yesterday, Councillor Barry Cunningham spoke to weather issues with the CBC's Carolina de Ryk in a recent Daybreak North segment and while his main focus was on the highway between Terrace and Prince Rupert, the Council member did offer a short glimpse into how the weather has had an impact on the operations at the Digby Island Airport.

"The last day or two they just started medical evacuation flights out of Rupert ... because the de icing machine at the airport was broke down, so we were in a situation with the highway closed, the airport not being able to receive flights and that's just not acceptable"

While Mr. Cunningham spoke of the concerning situation facing medical flights out of the city, the scheduled Air Canada service to and from the city had some challenges as well in recent weeks.

Data from the FlightRadar24 service notes of at least three cancellations of flights to the city from December 16 to January 2.

As Mr. Cunningham notes the airport was closed to flight operations, seemingly owing to the difficulties on the ground in Prince Rupert, which might suggest that the City should perhaps provide an update on the operations at the airport, to at least offer some pubic background on the challenges the City of Prince Rupert operated facility faced.

It has been a fairly long period of time since City Council has invited airport officials in for a review of how things are going; the last we heard anything from the airport, was when the former Airport Manager Rick Leach was making his farewells in mid October, that through an interview with the local paper.

The City for its part has yet to even provide an announcement as to who is now in charge at the facility.

As they head into a new year of Council sessions, having an update on Operations at the airpot might help to keep residents better informed as to their investment in air travel in the region.

Beyond a chance for airport officials to review the past challenges of these last few weeks, a public info session at Council could deliver an update on what plans are ahead for the airport, as well as the progress for the city's plan to move the Digby Island Ferry departure and arrival dock to the Rotary Waterfront Park location.  

Perhaps of most interest to travellers would be for officials to share what efforts are being made to bring additional air services to YPR, beyond the one flight a day Air Canada offers, when conditions allow for a safe arrival and departure.

More notes on air travel across the Northwest can be explored from our achieve page here.

Themes from civic note and council discussions can be explored here


  1. Barry hits the CBC to complain about issues right after the mayor announces retirement. NCR makes multiple stories out of it to increase exposure. coincidence? or a run for mayor in the works for PR's second most voted councillor?

    i personally hope he does run for mayor so that he has to answer for his failures on the health file. he's been the city's health rep the entire time that services have been centralized to terrace and cut back here. he also failed to get his 'health watch' committee together. and then he gave in to northern health's request for some kind of kumbaya committee!

  2. Not sure those two items of the last few days are the one's I would launch a mayoralty campaign on to be honest. As for multiple stories and increasing exposure, the two items reflect the Councillor's comments on two important themes; his challenge of sorts for the MLA to step up on Highway issues and then to note of some troubles at the local airport during the recent weather ... Both for most folks would be considered news I think. NCR