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New budget airline to bring tourism boost, jobs to Comox Valley

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A new, low-cost airline has landed at the Comox Valley Airport, and aims to bring a tourism boost and jobs to the area.

Swoop Airlines will be flying out of YQQ Airport twice a week from Edmonton to Comox. The new flight hopes to connect more people through a low-cost model that may encourage more people to travel, who otherwise would not be able to afford a plane ticket.

The flights from Comox to Edmonton are for sale for $59 for a one way ticket. The flights are scheduled to leave twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays, with two more days per week to be added in August.

Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO Dianne Hawkins says they are hoping to see a boost in tourism for the area, but also bring a connection that was lost over the last two years.

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“I think Swoop is going to give us a great opportunity in the Comox Valley for travellers to have more affordable options to not just be tourists here but to perhaps reconnect with family and friends,” said Hawkins. “Of course, we will be attracting people to the Comox Valley because we are very much a sought-after destination with all the things that you can do here.”

Hawkins adds Tourism Vancouver Island is working on tourism strategies, but they are looking forward to the boost after the last two years with pandemic restrictions constantly changing.

The new airline will also open up more jobs in the valley along with within the flight industry, according to the senior manager of airports for Swoop, Ryan Hubbard.

Hubbard says their model allows for more jobs outside of their company, and the added planes will contribute to passengers and jobs that come through.

“Our model with Swoop is that we contract out all of our services from within the airport,” said Hubbard. “I think in most of the communities we’ve been in it’s allowed them to increase from part-time to full-time with a lot of the shifts that they have for people working our flights.”

Hubbard says they’re adding six more aircraft to allow the expansion to the valley, adding flight attendants and pilots, but the direct impact will be more for taxi drivers and the airport authority.

The first flights out of Comox left Thursday morning, with airport employees looking forward to more flights coming and going from the area.

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