new plane

Air Canada's winter schedule still includes the doomed early morning departure and late-night arrival.

After encountering heavy turbulence from the travelling public, Air Canada is once again adjusting its Penticton schedules.

The company announced Thursday that effective June 1 its first departure to Vancouver will leave at 8:15 a.m., instead of 9:40 a.m. as it does now. And the last departure from Vancouver will leave at 6:35 p.m., rather than 6:10 p.m. as it does now.

“Overall, I think it’s a compromise that works,” said Serge Corbeil, the airline’s director of local and provincial governments.

“The changes we’re doing really allows the community to do a full day of business without losing that connectivity into the market.”

The planned changes come in response to public outcry about the new schedule that went into effect May 1 and eliminated the 6 a.m. departure from Penticton and the 10 p.m. departure from Vancouver.

“It’s a little bit of an improvement over what they announced earlier,” Mayor John Vassilaki said in reaction to Air Canada’s move.

“We lost a little bit of time there, but we gained 45 minutes in the morning — but there are other options people can work with.”

Those other options include two daily flights during the summer on WestJet from Penticton to Calgary, including one that leaves here at 6:25 a.m. on a plane that arrives the night before, improving reliability.

Corbeil denied the competition’s schedule had anything to do with his company’s sudden change of heart. Rather, it was about listening to the community and taking care of customers, he said.

“For us, again, the vast majority of people we fly out of Penticton on Air Canada it’s because they connect somewhere else on our network, and it was important for us to protect that,” said Corbeil.

Opposition to the May 1 schedule, which was loudest from the business sector, was led by the City of Penticton through a survey that heard from 2,600 people, about two-thirds of whom said they’d fly out of YYF less as a result of the changes.

Corbeil said Air Canada heard the community loud and clear, while Vassilaki thanked those who contributed to the effort.

“Without their help, I don’t think we would have had the results we had,” the mayor said.

Despite the reduction to three daily flights to Vancouver from four, Air Canada still has managed to increase total outbound capacity by 17% with the introduction of new Bombardier Q-400 Next Gen planes.

Corbeil said the company hasn’t yet set its fall and winter schedules.