NewLeaf to temporarily ground flights out of Kamloops

NewLeaf Travel has announced it will suspend service to and from Kamloops from Nov. 1 to mid-December

Less than two months after arriving in Kamloops, discount airline NewLeaf Travel has announced it will suspend service to and from Kamloops from Nov. 1 to mid-December. The company said it will not fly to and from Kamloops, Victoria, Regina and Saskatoon during that time.

Julie Rempel, director of corporate communications for NewLeaf, said the decision is based on numbers on planes, with the carrier looking to concentrate on its core flights, where it is selling the most tickets, while it adds more aircraft to its fleet.

Three more planes will arrive by mid-December, but Rempel said it’s not yet clear if Kamloops will be back on the schedule at that time.

“We wanted to take a hard look at the Kamloops market to make sure that when we come back, we will be flying on the days that people living in Kamloops and the surrounding area want to fly on and to the places they want to go to,” she said.

Rempel said the company does consider Kamloops “an important piece of the NewLeaf story.”

Kamloops Airport managing director Fred Legace said city hasn’t been the major source of passengers for the company’s Victoria-Kamloops-Edmonton route, which runs Wednesdays and Sundays. A typical flight will see 20 to 40 tickets sold in Kamloops.

Rempel said the company’s passenger load factor is about 45 per cent in Kamloops, compared to nearly 100 per cent in Abbotsford.

Legace said if service returns in December, it will be good news for the area.