Pacific Coastal Airlines is helping Vancouver Island communities isolated due to the recent closure of Highway 4, also known as the Pacific Rim Highway. The highway, which has been undergoing construction upgrades over the past year, closed to traffic in both directions on Thursday, January 23, due to a scheduled construction blast that badly damaged a section of the road.
The airline has scheduled flights between Vancouver and Tofino but does not operate a Saturday flight during the winter schedule.
“We’re pleased to step up to assist the people in these communities by adding a flight on Saturday, January 25,” stated Pacific Coastal corporate communications and public affairs director Kevin Boothroyd in a media release on Friday, January 24. “In doing so we hope to relieve some of the backlog of passengers attempting to get in or out of the communities.”
While the road will be open for a brief period this afternoon, traffic will be limited to essential travel only, meaning local residents and tourists may have to wait to travel until repair of the damaged section is completed.
The airline plans to reach out to the hospital and health association to determine if there is a need for it to provide cargo services for essential medicine or medical supplies, according to the release.
The extra flight will operate as follows:
Flight 8P1623 departs Vancouver at 13:35; arrives in Tofino at 14:20; Flight 8P1624 departs Tofino at 14:50, arrives in Vancouver at 15:35.
Passengers seeking to book on that flight can do so at pacificcoastal.com or call 1.800.663.2872.