The highway out of Tofino and Ucluelet is closed for most residents, but thankfully the sky is wide open!
B.C. airline Pacific Coastal Aviation is taking advantage of that by offering a special flight to transport people who need to get in or out of the island communities that have been trapped by the blockage on Highway 4 at Kennedy Hill.
On January 23rd, a scheduled blast — part of a highway improvement project — caused an unexpectedly large volume of rock to fall and block Highway 4 in both directions.
The road was completely closed until noon on Friday, January 24th. The blockage has isolated thousands of people from the rest of the island, but Pacific Coastal Aviation is stepping in to glide over.
— Pacific Coastal (@PacificCoastal) January 24, 2020
The B.C. airline is offering an extra flight from Victoria to Tofino-Long Beach Avenue on Saturday, January 25th.
“We’re pleased to step up to assist the people in these communities by adding a flight on Saturday, January 25,” said Kevin Boothroyd, Pacific Coastal Airlines’ Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, in a statement to Victoria Buzz.
“In doing so we hope to relieve some of the backlog of passengers attempting to get in or out of the communities.”
B.C. Airline to correspond with hospitals, health associations
Pacific Coastal will also reach out to the hospital and health associations to determine if there is a need for the airline to provide cargo services for essential medicine or medical supplies, Boothroyd said.
The flight leaves Victoria at 1:35 p.m. and arrives in Tofino at 2:20 p.m. The return flight then leaves Tofino-Long Beach at 2:50 p.m. and arrives back in Victoria at 3:35 p.m.
Highway 4 was opened on Friday, January 24th, but only between 12:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and for passenger vehicles and light pickups whose travel is deemed essential. There are screening officials located at Sproat Lake and the Tofino/Ucluelet junction.
Passengers hoping to book a seat on the Pacific Coastal flight can do so at pacificcoastal.com or contact their Call Centre at 1-800-663-2872.