Contributed photo                                White Rock’s Mark Awan wants to start a float plan service in White Rock.

Contributed photo White Rock’s Mark Awan wants to start a float plan service in White Rock.

White Rock businessman considers float plane service to Gulf Islands

MNK Aviation owner and pilot Mark Awan hopes to get plan off the ground in a few years

A White Rock aerospace and transportation company is looking into starting a float plane service from the city’s pier to the Gulf Islands.

MNK Aviation owner and pilot Mark Awan, who is a Semiahmoo Peninsula native, said the plan was put on standby after the destruction of the pier Dec. 20, however, he would like to speak to Mayor Darryl Walker about the idea.

He said his company would like to see the plan get off the ground in the next few years.

“We have two options that we’re playing with right now,” Awan told Peace Arch News Tuesday. “One would be what they call aerial work, which is sightseeing flights, which would be very seasonal. The other would be chartered flights, so if someone wants to charter out to one of the Gulf Islands, they would book the aircraft, pay per seat, and (we would) fly them to where they wanted to go.”

Awan, who moved his company from Vancouver International Airport to White Rock last year, said the city is a preferred destination for a float plane service because many of the other harbours in the Lower Mainland already operate a service.

Awan acknowledged that bringing charter float planes to White Rock involved “huge hurdles,” including ones that are political.

“You’re dealing with a lot of politics just to get that done. Another thing, you need the right aircraft for the job. I do have one of the Beavers flying, but it’s an incredibly loud aircraft, and you’re dealing with noise bylaws,” he said.

“And with our timeframe right now, with all the work we have going, it’s been put on the back burner,” Awan said.

MNK Aviation specializes in charter aviation and transportation for the film production industry in Vancouver. That work includes providing props, aircraft, and ground transportation.

The company also does work overseas, and is currently helping establish an airline on the Red Sea for a resort community.

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