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Kelowna is just one flight away from the land of Nanaimo bars, bathtub races and mid-island fun.
Today, Vancouver-based Pacific Coastal Airlines starts flying non-stop daily between Kelowna and Nanaimo.
The plane leaves Nanaimo at 3:50 pm and arrives in Kelowna at 4:55 pm.
The same plane will turn around and depart Kelowna at 5:20 pm and land in Nanaimo at 6:25 pm.
"Our Nanaimo-Kelowna service provides the only non-stop flight option enabling customers to travel between these communities in just over an hour," said Pacific Coastal vice-president Jonathan Richardson.
Pacific Coastal also revealed it will start daily non-stops between Nanaimo and Vancouver airport's south terminal on Sept. 13.
"We are thrilled to have these two new routes and add Nanaimo as a new destination to our route network," said Richardson.
On both new city pairings, Pacific Coastal will use 19-seat Beechcraft 1900 turbo-prop planes.
If you haven't flown a 1900 before, it's a unique experience.
The plane is small, noisy, has a one-seat-either-side-of-the-
Nineteen seats is not many, but it's considered to be the perfect amount for the number of people that might want to travel Kelowna-Nanaimo daily.
For instance, it's unlikely Air Canada or WestJet would find it viable to fly Kelowna-Nanaimo with its 76-seat Q400 planes.
The Pacific Coastal flights are now on sale at www.pacificcoastal.com for as little as $99 one-way by using the promo code: WELCOMENANAIMO.
While there may be some business travel on the Kelowna-Nanaimo route, it's expected it will be filled with mostly tourists and those visiting friends and family.
Today's launch means Pacific Coastal will miss out on the busy summer season for leisure travel.
Nanaimo is the second biggest city on Vancouver Island (population: 100,000 or 170,000 for the metropolitan area), located 113 kilometres north of Victoria on the east coast of the island.
It's considered the mid-Island gateway to urban amenities in Nanaimo, regional recreation on land and ocean and the ferry to Gabriola Island (as well as North Vancouver and Tsawwassen).
The aforementioned bathtub races refers to the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race that's part of the Nanaimo Marine Festival held annually in July and sees motor-powered bathtubs compete in Nanaimo Harbour.
Nanaimo may be most famous for the cookie bar named after it that gained popularity after World War II and then became an international phenomena after the recipe was included in The Official Cookbook of Expo 86 and virtually every cooking website.
It's a no-bake trifecta confectionery of chocolate fudge and coconut cookie base, creamy custard buttercream filling and chocolate ganache icing that is made and enjoyed all over the world.
"We are so excited to be offering Nanaimo as a new destination and provide expanded regional service for Okanagan residents," said Kelowna airport director Sam Samaddar.
"Pacific Coastal has been operating out of YLW for 10 years and we are happy to be able to continue to have them as a valued partner."
Pacific Coastal currently flies between Kelowna and Victoria twice daily using the Beechcraft 1900.
It also used to fly three times a week between Kelowna and Cranbrook, but that service was suspended in 2021 because it wasn't busy enough.
No word on whether or not those flights will come back now that air travel has almost fully rebounded after the pandemic.
In all, Pacific Coastal will serve 18 cities when Nanaimo comes on board.
The others are Kelowna, of course, Penticton (to Victoria), Prince George (to Victoria), Victoria, Vancouver south terminal, Tofino, Powell River, Trail, Cranbrook, Campbell River, Port Hardy, Bella Bella, Comox, Williams Lake, Masset, Bella Coola and Anaheim Lake.
With the addition of Nanaimo in September, the number of destinations you can fly to non-stop from Kelowna airport will also hit 18 -- Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Prince George, Seattle, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Kitchener, Toronto, Montreal and winter service to Phoenix, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun.
Nanaimo airport is currently served by Air Canada and WestJet with daily flights to Vancouver and Calgary and twice-weekly to Edmonton.