The new flight to San Francisco is an interesting addition to options from Victoria. There has been a lot of self congratulatory brouhaha about the benefits of the flights from the usual local promoters.
It is a nice addition to options for getting off of the island, but I do not see the real benefits of this new flight. Yeah, it will be nice to be able to get to the Bay area faster and with the new BART link from the airport it is easy access to the centre of the city, but I do not see the real benefit.
We now see flights from Victoria to eastern Canada via West Jet, and this is a nice addition, so are the flights in and out of Comox to Edmonton.
I will get excited about flights once we see one going from Victoria or Comox to either Europe or Asia.
You look at the current schedule for both airports and see that the bulk of the traffic is to Vancouver followed by Calgary and then Seattle.
Everything is still oriented around getting Vancouver Island people to one of the three closest hub airports. We have over 750 000 people on the island now, and the population is growing by 20 000 a year. We have enough people on the island now to support flights to other locations.
Is it unrealistic to think that there are 300 to 400 people a week that would be interested in going to London? Or how about to Asia? I think Victoria Airport Authority could compete with both Vancouver and Seattle by offering cheaper landing rights. Make Victoria the Newark to Vancouver's JFK. What about getting the people flowing from the lower mainland to fly out of Victoria?
Comox is unfortunately still too small a market to manage to offer the draw in people to make even cheap landing rights worth it.
A first step might be to concentrate the people in Victoria - say a Comox to Victoria flight. Then as a second step start to promote flying from Vancouver to Victoria and then onto other locations. At the moment only the San Francisco flight works for this, but if there are more options, there is something there to market.