Island seaplane companies ground all flights due to COVID-19

Island seaplane companies ground all flights due to COVID-19
Atleo River Air Service / Facebook
Two seaplane companies on Vancouver Island are closing their doors indefinitely due to COVID-19

Two float plane companies on Vancouver Island will remain grounded due to COVID-19 concerns.

Gulf Island Sea Planes and Atleo River Air Service have suspended all service until further notice in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

“We cannot in good conscience put people at risk and would like to do our part in flattening the curve,” said Sean and Alison Evans, owners of Gulf Island Seaplanes. 

This announcement comes right as their season was about to take off.

“It has been a long winter of preparations for the beginning of our season.” said Atleo River Air Service in a Facebook post.

“A sad day for sure. Try telling a dedicated crew who loves their jobs that we are pulling the pin.”

Gulf Island Seaplanes regularly fly passengers between Gabriola Island, several Gulf Islands and Vancouver International Airport along with performing charter flights.

The Tofino-based Atleo River Air Service uses seaplanes and helicopters to provide chartered flights and sightseeing tours. Atleo also operates emergency flights to remote areas and that service is still in question.

“We are in discussions on how we will provide emergency flights (medivacs) in the future. Remote villages are isolated and homes to persons at risk.” said the company on Facebook.

Neither company have given a time frame for when they will be able to take flight again as the COVID-19 landscape continues to change.

“We will remain committed to reassessing consistently to find a time to return to normal operations as soon as possible,” said Evans.

Harbour Air Seaplanes in Victoria remains open until further notice.

The Island-based float plane companies join the Black Ball Ferry Company and the Victoria Clipper as transportation companies that have halted operations amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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