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CMA flights suspended in Fort St. John

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Central Mountain Air service in Fort St. John has been suspended through to March 1.

Officials confirmed the change this week due to the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on air travel. Fort Nelson service continues.

“With the current CoVid environment and its impact on demand, Central Mountain is evaluating a number of scheduled service routes as you would expect,” CEO Bob Cummings said.

CMA first suspended service last April during the first wave of the pandemic, and resumed in stages through the summer and fall.

“We want municipalities to continue to have access to essential medical and worker travel that keeps a base level of the economy functioning," Cummings said. "As well keeping a base level of service will enable recovery to occur much more effectively [with respect to] keeping the infrastructure and various associated groups functioning. We have been doing everything we can to try to continue service in an environment where virtually every flight is contributing to the debt/reducing cash available to the company.”

Local civic and business leaders met this week to discuss the pandemic’s impacts on regional air service, and draw government support for companies like Central Mountain Air that serve small, rural communities not covered by major airlines.

Air Canada and WestJet continue to operate commercial flights in Fort St. John to Vancouver and Calgary.

But companies like CMA are essential to maintaining regional connectivity across the north, said MLA Dan Davies. Davies said he and Opposition transportation critic Michael Lee will be lobbying Transportation Minister Rob Fleming for support.

“This is concerning. Many people in the region use CMA to attend medical or cancer care appointments in Prince George, especially during the winter months,” Davies said. “We are hopeful with pressure on the federal and provincial governments they can work with CMA to find a way forward.”

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.