Harbour Air, which bills itself as the world’s largest all-float plane scheduled carrier, vowed to keep flying as an essential lifeline to island communities in British Columbia.
“Over the last two weeks, we have flown medical staff between these communities to support high-need medical clinics and care facilities,” read an update posted Monday by Harbour Air’s founder and Chief Executive Officer Greg McDougall on the company’s website.
“We have helped families fly home to care for children whose parents are working overtime in hospitals. We have flown doctors, nurses and paramedics. Guests who have relied on us for years to get to their medical appointments in Vancouver, still need our service.”
“Rest assured; this decision was not made lightly,” wrote McDougall. “We have consulted with our teams, families, experts in disease control and our customers.”
Harbour Air serves seven destinations from docks in downtown Vancouver and at Vancouver International Airport.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, it has cancelled service to Seattle and the Vancouver-area community of Pitt Meadows. It has also cut its flying schedule to reduce staff needed on shift, cancelled scenic tours, delayed the start of seasonal routes, and grounded its six-passenger Beaver aircraft in favour of larger planes to allow passengers to social isolate.
“Harbour Air is essential in assisting the supply chain process,” wrote McDougall. “We have sent food and materials to businesses and facilities in need and we have shipped time sensitive medical tests and samples between locations that have no other options.
“Should Harbour Air cease to operate, we would be effectively leaving some of our most vulnerable people and communities stranded.”