Pacific Coastal Airlines suspends flights for two days due to Omicron cases among staff

·1 min read
Pacific Coastal Airlines, which exclusively serves destinations in B.C., has suspended operations on Jan. 2 and 3 due to Omicron transmission in their operational control centre. (Mike Hillman/CBC News - image credit)
Pacific Coastal Airlines, which exclusively serves destinations in B.C., has suspended operations on Jan. 2 and 3 due to Omicron transmission in their operational control centre. (Mike Hillman/CBC News - image credit)

Pacific Coastal Airlines, an operator which serves smaller communities throughout B.C's West Coast and Interior, has suspended operations for two days due to transmission of COVID-19 at its operational control centre at the South Terminal of the Vancouver International Airport.

None of the flights scheduled for Jan. 2 or 3 will go ahead, according to a statement on the airline's website.

All customers who had flights booked for those days will receive a full refund or be offered a rescheduled flight for a later date.

Quentin Smith, president of Pacific Coastal, said the decision to suspend flights was taken to prevent uncertainty in the airline's commercial schedule.

"We've been struggling with [COVID-19 transmission] for probably the past month or so," he told CBC News. "[We] had made multiple schedule changes to try to keep ahead of it."

"At the end of the day, we felt that we just needed to pause for a couple of days to really reset."

The cancellations come after another Canadian operator, WestJet, had to similarly suspend operations due to an Omicron-fueled outbreak among its staff.

Smith said two employees in the control centre recently tested positive and others are self-isolating because they are symptomatic.

The statement on Pacific Coastal's website says the transmissions are due to the more infectious Omicron variant.

"I really feel terrible for all of our customers … obviously, we're impacting their end of holiday season travel plans," Smith said. "Trust me, we didn't make the decision lightly."

Pacific Coastal operates flights to communities in British Columbia's Interior, on Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii.

The airline's flights are set to resume on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

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