Yarmouth airline's wings clipped
The only airline flying regularly out of southwestern Nova Scotia will be grounded as of Monday evening, leaving Yarmouth without service once again.
Flight 514 from Halifax will be Starlink Aviation's last flight into Yarmouth.
Starlink is pulling out of the region because there's no money left in a provincial fund set up to help the airline establish its business. It helped fill a void that Air Canada created when it pulled out of the region seven years ago.
Starlink spent the $2-million provincial fund in just 9 months; it was meant to last 5 years. Now the provincial government doesn't want to give the company any more money without seeing a business plan.
Economic Development Minister Percy Paris said Monday that he's not keen to add more to the pot simply to keep the airline in Yarmouth.
"To give somebody a million dollars, and they're going to be around for another two or three months — does that make good business sense?" he asked.
Paris said he met with Starlink president Glen Lynch to talk about the business, and Lynch promised more information.
Paris said he's only ready to invest more if it means taxpayers get their money's worth.
"It's not just about keeping it afloat," he said. "We could throw money at things forever and keep them afloat. What we're looking for is a good business case, and sustainability."
Paris said that means a plan that shows the airline can survive without government help.
Last week, Brenda Libby, the airline's regional sales manager, said Starlink would have more time to grow if the business had more funding.
"If we had another $1 million in the project, you know, we'd be around for a while," she said.
Starlink estimates it will take two to three years to get the business going. The company said it carried close to 6,000 people on its twice-daily runs to Halifax and Portland, Maine, since last February.