Helijet will be offering free rides to BC healthcare workers who are travelling for business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The local commuter helicopter air carrier announced Wednesday flights between its Vancouver terminals in downtown Vancouver and Vancouver International Airport, and Vancouver Island terminals in Victoria and Nanaimo.
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This allows healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses, and others in the medical sector to travel quickly to provide direct patient care, or to attend urgent medical strategy sessions or briefings on the crisis.
“We’ve been providing downtown-to-downtown scheduled air service for 34 years and we know that right now, every minute counts,” said Danny Sitnam, president and CEO of Helijet International, in a statement.
“We’re proud to help out during the COVID-19 crisis by supporting free flights for British Columbia’s health care responders who may need to travel to and from Vancouver Island. Their efforts are unprecedented right now and we’re proud to help where we can.”
These workers can book free seats based on availability, beginning on April 6. The program will last for 30 days, at which point the offer will be reviewed and possibly extended.
Currently, as a provincially designated essential service, Helijet is the only air carrier providing regularly scheduled passenger and cargo flights between the city centres of Vancouver and Victoria. However, frequencies have been reduced due to the fallen demand.
Harbour Air suspended all of its scheduled seaplane flights starting this past weekend, until further notice, but it is still flying charter and private flights, including freight and government support services.
Helijet says it has increased its cleansing and physical distancing measures during the pandemic, including limiting the number of passengers to six instead of the usual 12, making hand sanitizer available, sanitizing aircraft cabins before each flight, disinfecting all aircraft at the end of each day of service, and deeper cleaning its terminal facilities.
The company is also the provincial government’s operator of the BC Air Ambulance Service.