They will only handle about nine passengers each and there will only be two flights a day, but U.S.-based float plane carrier Kenmore Air has completed its pre-flight checks for direct scheduled service from Nanaimo to Seattle.
Nanaimo Airport and the air carrier announced the airport’s first scheduled international flight service at a launch party Tuesday, that featured a sports theme with hot dogs, popcorn, Wii baseball in the airport terminal’s waiting lounge, which was decked out in baseball and football equipment and paraphernalia for the event.
Kenmore Air already runs flights between Victoria’s downtown harbour and Lake Union in Seattle.
Flights from Nanaimo – this is the company’s first attempt at year-round land-based service from the central Island – will operate between Nanaimo Airport and Boeing Field, which is close to many of Seattle’s downtown sports and entertainment venues. The company will also run a complimentary shuttle service between Boeing Field and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for passengers connecting with flights to other destinations.
Kenmore Air and Seattle tourism representatives arrived at the event aboard a Cessna Caravan 206 and Piper Chieftain aircraft that will be servicing the route. Each plane carries eight to nine passengers.
Kenmore Air president Todd Banks declined to publicly comment on projected passenger numbers.
“We don’t know,” Banks said. “We’re starting with two flights a day and if we can fill those up then we hope we can expand service and grow … We also have the ability to add more aircraft.”
Banks said the company perceived a lot of positive energy in Nanaimo, which helped influence the company’s decision to launch the service.
“We’re delighted to welcome Kenmore into our community and I know it’s going to be a long term relationship that will keep growing as we team together,” said Mike Hooper, Nanaimo Airport president and CEO.
The company is accepting bookings for flights, which start March 3, at www.kenmoreair.com.