Kenmore has revived plans to open service between the Vancouver and Seattle Harbors to take advantage of growing business and tourism connections between the cities.
Kenmore Air vice-president Tim Brooks said the company wants to operate three flights daily during the spring, summer and fall between its Lake Union hub and Vancouver, and two flights daily in the winter.
But the company faces obstacles, he said, including high landing fees proposed by the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre and a demand from Customs Border Services Agency to recover the cost of passenger inspections.
Brooks, the airline’s director of flight operations, said his company backs a bid by the Vancouver Commercial Seaplane Operators Association to build a separate, not-for-profit terminal.
The so-called Harbour Hub would connect directly to public transit services and would kill the new $18-million VHFC. A coalition of float plane operators are vehemently opposed to that facility, partly because the privately-owned operation is demanding fees that tack on $12 to the price of each one-way ticket.
The coalition has the political backing of several mayors of B.C. coastal communities, who say the extra fees deter floatplane travel and harm communities.
Brooks said Kenmore supports the coalition’s call for Harbour Hub, which he believes will be more economical and efficient for both passengers and airlines.
“We had met with the developers of the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre, and it simply would be too expensive for us. The fees they want to charge would not make a business case for us opening this scheduled service.”
The CBSA cost-recovery demand is also an obstacle for both proposed centres. CBSA had originally agreed to provide customs services as part of its existing Vancouver Convent Centre cruise ship services but is now demanding cost-recovery for the float plane operations.