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Seattle's Kenmore Air to resume seaplane flights to Victoria, Vancouver

Victoria flights to start April 1; Vancouver's in May
Kenmore Air - Todd Banks
Kenmore Air CEO Todd Banks said he is "thrilled" with the Canadian government's move to no longer require passengers to show negative COVID-19 tests on arrival

Seattle-based seaplane operator Kenmore Air plans to relaunch flights to Victoria on April 1, and to Vancouver in early May. 

Kenmore Air CEO Todd Banks told BIV that he also plans to relaunch flights to B.C.'s Discovery Islands and Desolation Sound in late May. 

He said that he is "thrilled" with the Canadian government's announcement today that as of April 1, vaccinated travellers will no longer have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the country.

"That definitely gives us more confidence to start the flights," he said. "We still need the U.S. side to be relaxed as well. That's going to be important."

The U.S. government still requires all travellers entering the country by air, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day prior to starting travel. 

"We're hopeful that this will change soon," he said. 

The U.S. test requirement is not in effect for those driving over land borders. 

Kenmore Air has 18 planes. Banks said that the Victoria flights will start off with two round-trips per day, with the first one leaving Seattle at 8:30 a.m., and returning at 9:30 a.m. The second flight leaves Seattle at 3 p.m. and then returns from Victoria at 4:15 p.m.

The planes have 10 seats, which Banks intends to fill to capacity. If more than 10 seats are sold for a flight time on a route, the airline will add another plane, he said. This could provide capacity for 40 or 50 seats, if demand exists. 

"I think it will be around US$190 each way," he said of the Victoria flights. "To Vancouver, it will be a bit more."

Those rates are slightly below what the airline charged pre-pandemic.

"We're going to have some [cheaper] fares to get demand going," he said. 

Kenmore Air code-shares its flights to Vancouver with Vancouver's Harbour Air, and he said that relaunching those flights would happen in partnership with Harbour Air. The Victoria flights do not operate on a code-share agreement.

No one at Harbour Air was immediately available to discuss that airline's plans.

One notable feature of Kenmore Air planes is that some of them have liveries that include the Seattle Kraken logo, as that new National Hockey League franchise has a partnership with the airline.