LETTER: It’s time to complain loudly about ‘Cancelgar’

Flights are often cancelled at West Kootenay Regional Airport in Castlegar.

After reading the piece about “Cancelgar” airport, I wanted to provide my two cents.

The article didn’t explain the real reason why 99% of those flights were cancelled. The inversion was a contributing factor but inversions are nothing new. The minimum ceiling at ‘Cancelgar’ is 2760’, while at Kelowna, WestJet can land with a 108’ ceiling and Air Canada has a 300’ ceiling. The real reason is Air Canada’s decision not to upgrade the Dash 8 with improved navigation technology. That, coupled with its monopoly at ‘Cancelgar’ allows Air Canada to get away with providing this deplorable level of service.

It’s all about money with Air Canada. Business is booming and the company’s stock has tripled. However, instead of investing those lofty profits to upgrade the Dash 8s flying into ‘Cancelgar’, they issued a share buyback further enriching its shareholders and executives. This is important because cancelled flights have a direct negative social and economic impact. Those cancelled flights represented 2100+ passengers heading to Whitewater, Red, or any of 8 cat and heli ski ops based out of Nelson, while many others were coming to visit friends or family. This contributed a significant economic loss to our hotels, restaurants and retailers. Further, there is the inconvenience to locals who weren’t able to leave how and when they desire, or in the event of a health or family emergency.

So, what can we do? Everyone write Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada and demand he upgrade the Dash 8s flying into ‘Cancelgar’. Second, boycott Air Canada and fly Pacific Coastal or WestJet. Third, start a #BoycottAirCanada campaign. It’s time to take a page out of the 1976 classic movie, Network, and scream, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Stand up, vote with your wallets, and use the power of social media to hit Air Canada in the place it hurts the most – on the bottom line!

Paul Osak

Nelson

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