Airline hoping to take off here by next month

Scheduled air service between Fort Frances and Winnipeg could be off the ground by April 15, with flights operating Sunday through Friday.
As first reported in last Thursday’s Daily Bulletin, Nakina Air also plans to offer flights between here and Thunder Bay daily except Saturdays.
“Talking with travel agents, they’re very excited they will have travel service again [to Winnipeg],” said Nakina Air administrator Kurt Sieloff.
“We’ll be offering low fares with a brand new aircraft,” he added. “We’ll be able to introduce the cheaper fares to bring people back to flying.”
For the first month, those “cheaper” fares will be $110 (one way) to either Winnipeg or Thunder Bay. After that, the price will jump to $180, which includes all taxes and no restrictions.
“It doesn’t matter if you call two weeks in advance or two days in advance,” Sieloff said.
The aircraft Nakina Air will fly is a brand new turbo prop, pressurized nine-seat Pilatus PC-12, which has a cruising speed of 300 mph and a maximum altitude of about 30,000 feet.
“There’s lots of leg room and head room,” Sieloff noted. “The cabin is air conditioned in the summer. The comfort level for the passenger is fabulous.”
Flights from Thunder Bay would arrive at 10:55 a.m. and leave for Winnipeg at 11:15 a.m. A flight would return from Winnipeg at 3:45 p.m. and take off for Thunder Bay at 4:05 p.m.
The estimated flight time is about 50 minutes.
Sieloff said the flight schedule is designed so a person flying to Winnipeg can still make most connections to Toronto, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, and other major destinations served by Winnipeg airport.
Flights into Thunder Bay land to give passengers enough time to catch the evening flight to Toronto.
“We try to keep a large envelope so people who do fly further from Winnipeg can make their connections,” he stressed.
Sieloff said talks have been positive so far with local airport manager Bill Caul although he hasn’t heard any response from the town yet.
Fort Frances CAO Bill Naturkach said the issue has been placed on the agenda for the March 22 council meeting but he did not see any problems the company would have getting established here in April.
“It would appear to be a matter of political support by council and a matter of just doing it by staff,” he noted.
Naturkach said Geoff Gillon, with the Rainy River Future Development Corp. here, has been working on the town’s behalf to re-establish air service to Winnipeg since NorOntair was axed here.
“When we lost the Winnipeg connection, the community said to us they missed that service,” Naturkach said.
“There is a need being expressed to us and the town has supported those pursuits by [Gillon] and the RRFDC so it’s probably going to be well-received by council.
“I believe [they’ll] be pleased to see it,” he added.