Transporting over 420,000 passengers on an annual basis, equating to over 200 flights per day, or 60,000 flights per year, there can be no disputing that Harbour Air are industry leaders in seaplane services. We are fortunate enough to have an existing relationship with them that has allowed us to call on them for advice. Indeed, we know of no better group to visit the Channel Islands and cast their expert eye over the progress we have made in setting up our operations.
Peter Evans, former President of Harbour Air and current President of Harbour Air International Consulting (“Harbour Air”) visited Clear Harbour Airlines last week to scrutinise our operational plans. Peter has flown commercially for over 40 years, accruing over 15,000 hours flying floatplanes and has worked at Harbour Air for over 30 years. During this time, he helped grow Harbour Air from a start-up with 4 aircraft and 20 employees to its current position as the largest seaplane operator in the world, with 40 aircraft and 200 employees. Having the assistance of Peter and Harbour Air ensures that Clear Harbour Airways has the benefit of over 40 years’ experience from the leaders of our sector.
Over the course of the week, we met all those necessary for our operational success, both in Jersey and Guernsey. This included meetings with Air Traffic Control (“ATC”) to discuss routing of our aircraft as well as meetings with the harbour masters in Jersey and Guernsey to discuss our take-off and landing zones.
Discussions also determined communication procedures to be used between our pilots, the harbour and ATC, to ensure a safe and efficient operation within the confines of the ports on both islands. There was universal enthusiasm from those involved regarding the return of seaplanes to the Channel Islands and Harbour Air were very impressed with the commercial attitude of the operational and regulatory bodies involved.
It was useful to be able to draw comparison between our operation in the Channel Islands and Harbour Air’s operations in Vancouver and Victoria Harbour as well as with their water-based operations adjacent to Vancouver International Airport.
We were able to discuss aviation rules pertinent to our operation with representatives from the aircraft registry and the Director of Civil Aviation (“DCA”) and Peter was able to offer advice regarding how Transport Canada (the equivalent to our DCA) view and regulate their commercial floatplane operations.
The visit also enabled Peter to assess our weather conditions first hand and meet the team at the Jersey Meteorological Office. You can read more about how weather can influence our seaplane service and our operational contingency plans here: https://goo.gl/YusxbA
Peter has now returned to Vancouver to discuss our operation with his fellow Directors and stakeholders at Harbour Air before providing us with a feasibility report.