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Passenger flights at local airport a matter of time: GM

Lake Simcoe Regional Airport, Pascan hoping demand is there
2018-02-11 Lake Simcoe Airport
An airplane takes off from Lake Simcoe Regional Airport. Submitted

There are high hopes passenger flights will take off in Simcoe County.

Whether Quebec-based Pascan Aviation will expand its services to Lake Simcoe Regional Airport in Oro-Medonte will depend on demand — something that is being gauged in part by a survey open to the public.

“We’re really anxious to collect all this information from the survey,” Yani Gagnon, executive vice-president and co-owner of Pascan, told OrilliaMatters. “The facilities (at Lake Simcoe Regional Airport) are really good and the business plan seems to be solid. It just needs to be backed by some good data.”

If passenger service becomes a reality, it would likely start with a morning and afternoon departure to both Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport and Montreal Saint-Hubert Longueuil Airport from Lake Simcoe Regional Airport. Connections at the Ottawa and Montreal airports to Pascan's other destinations in Quebec would also be available.

Mike Drumm, general manager of Lake Simcoe Regional Airport, located on Line 7, is excited about the prospect of opening up his facilities for public flight.

“It’s more of a tangible product that people can take advantage of,” he said, noting some see the business or government jets coming in and out of the airport and don’t see how they can benefit. “This would be something publicly accessible.”

It’s only a matter of time, he added.

“We look at the population of Simcoe County in general, and that population is only going to continue to accelerate,” Drumm said. “We thought there was a real opportunity.”

If Pascan ends up adding stops at the local airport, the existing staff and infrastructure there will be sufficient, given the initial plan. However, more jobs and facilities are “indeed a possibility,” Drumm said, if the service expands.

More business is good business for Pascan, too.

The airline broke into the Ontario market last year, touching down at Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport. In the first month, there were 20 passengers. They’re now up to about 200, though “we still need to do a little more,” Gagnon said.

“It takes three to six months to really determine if there’s a market or not,” he said. Regardless, “we know how to serve the smaller markets,” he added.

Pascan has been in business for almost 20 years. It has 10 aircraft and employs about 130 people.

Organizations and individuals are invited to take the survey here.


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Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the desk editor for Village Media's central Ontario news desk in Simcoe County and Newmarket.
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