According to the Northern View the president of the Prince Rupert Airport Authority, Maureen Macarenko, wants City Council to lower the Digby Island Ferry fares for extra vehicle traffic from $45 to $15. The reason given in the article was: “the current $45 fee adds to the negative impression of airport customers “using dilapidated bus services and an outdated ferry” and is driving people to Terrace to park and fly out of the Northwest Regional Airport.” and “since very few are willing to pay the $45 fee” the airport is losing parking revenue.
Rick Reed, the airport manager, stated there was a 2% increase in passengers in 2012 compared to the year before and a 4.48% increase this January 2013 compared to January 2012. This 2% increase in passengers came with 255 less aircraft landing at the airport. I think it is also safe to assume the traffic numbers will be increasing over time. I do not believe there is any evidence to support a significant increase in passengers deferring to Terrace airport, especially with the growth numbers we are seeing at YPR. I look forward to seeing what is presented on March 4th.
Since the cost of transportation, including the ferry, is included in the airfare ticket a passenger should be able to retain a refund from the airline which could be put towards the $45 (return) ferry fare. Add another passengers in their vehicle and the $45 ferry fare is meaningless. Any complaint by passengers about “using dilapidated bus services and an outdated ferry” would fall under Hawkair and Air Canada’s mandate would it not?
As far as the Airport losing parking revenue, I have little sympathy when the tax payers are on the hook for around $800,000 per year incurred from the ferry’s losses. Lowering the fare for personal vehicles lowers revenue, increases gross passenger weight, which increases operating costs. A gross imbalance of interests.