Recognizing the important work of BC’s health care responders during the current COVID-19 crisis, Helijet has announced that it will provide seats at no cost between Vancouver and its Vancouver Island terminals in Victoria and Nanaimo for health care responders travelling on business.
The initiative is aimed at medical personnel including doctors, nurses or others in the health care sector who may need to travel quickly to provide direct patient care, or to attend urgent medical strategy sessions or briefings on the outbreak.
“We’ve been providing downtown-to-downtown scheduled air service for 34 years and we know that right now, every minute counts,” explained Danny Sitnam, President and CEO of Helijet International. “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.”
Helijet is now designated as an “essential service” air provider and is currently the only air carrier operating regularly scheduled “downtown-to-downtown” passenger and cargo flights between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. The service is operating on a reduced schedule based on current demand, with daily return flights between Vancouver Harbour and Victoria Harbour, as well as Vancouver Harbour and Nanaimo Harbour.
BC health care responders travelling on business can book seats free of charge on any of these flights, based on availability. Proper identification to verify health care responders is required at time of check-in.
This first responder program begins April 6th, and will continue for at least the next 30 days, at which time the program will be reviewed, and possibly extended.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Helijet has increased its sanitizing and social distancing procedures to include:
- Limiting the maximum number of passengers in all aircraft to six, instead of the usual 12, to increase the distance between travellers.
- Sanitizing aircraft cabins before each flight, as well as disinfecting high touch areas within the cabin and cockpit.
- Providing a detailed disinfection regime for all aircraft at the end of every day, to ensure no contaminants remain for passengers who board the aircraft next.
- Making hand sanitizer available to all travellers and staff at each terminal.
- Deeper cleaning of terminal facilities, washrooms and offices on a more frequent basis.
- Complimentary food and beverage service at terminals has changed to offer only grab-and-go pre-packaged foods and beverages.