By Chris Marchand
A new air charter and cargo service is hoping to win over a share of Far North traffic with fast and friendly service.
With operations based out of Dryden, the airline named Kasper, for founder Kasper Wabinski, features a distinctive new aircraft which they think will be a good fit for the needs of the north.
The GippsAero GA8 Airvan, manufactured in Australia, was designed for carrying up to seven people and a total payload of 1,400 lbs into remote destinations in the outback. The plane has a range of 750 miles.
They are the first commercial operator of the aircraft in Canada, although the plane has proven itself in cold weather in operation in Alaska where it has become a popular addition to the aviation scene over the past several years.
The aircraft has many safety features that could help it avoid being stranded in a remote location and simplified flaps and landing gear.
“I describe it to people as a better, faster version of the Beaver,” said Wabinski. “It was designed to haul the payload and passengers in a timely manner for reasonable operational costs. We’re able to offer our service to customers who may otherwise not be able to afford to use services like air charters. We are here because we see a need for this aircraft. It’s a great balance between price, volume, functionality and speed.”
Wabinski, who is partnered with co-founders and fellow pilots Jordan Manty, Frank De Castro and a Thunder Bay based operations manager say they would like to service the contractors in the region, as well as First Nations for passengers and cargo. The service is also certified to transport dangerous goods.
Wabinski says Dryden was a great option for an operations base as many clients, who may fly into Sioux Lookout with other charter services are still driving to Dryden to access shopping or other services. He says flights originating locally are attractive to local contractors who currently have to drive some distance to make their flights.
“A lot of those customers currently have to drive further north and that adds time and cost,” said Wabinski. “We can do that fairly cost effectively out of here directly.”
Check out Kasper’s website at flykasper.com.