Time is everything for the world of chartered planes, and when time is an issue, there is one way to cover a lot of prairie ground in a short time.
Good Spirit Air Service is a charter airline that operates out of Yorkton, but provides flights to and from the Estevan Airport when requested. They've been in business for seven years and own three Beachcraft King Air B200 planes that seat eight passengers.
Phil De Vos and Carol Yaholnitsky had one of their planes on display at the Estevan Airport's open house on Sept. 24, trying to get the word out that they provide a service available to anyone in the Estevan area. De Vos said there are a lot of people, particularly in the energy industry, whose time is very important.
Bringing in labour from out of province is something they do as well.
"If a company called us to say we want you to do a regular run, or just one trip, or many, many trips to Calgary to pick up our people and bring them back and forth, that's why we're here," he said.
Yaholnitsky stressed that they are a charter service, so it's very specific. They can do a schedule where they take people from Estevan to Edmonton and back every two weeks.
"What we are primarily after are the big companies, the executives, where time is money," said De Vos. "For some people it's very hard to understand the difference between driving four hours in a car and doing that same trip in 30 minutes in a plane and paying as much money. For the busy executives of the world, and our politicians as we've recently seen, time is important."
While on the planes, passengers can work with laptops and cellphones, or if they've already had a busy day, De Vos said they can sleep in the comfortable cabin.
"Sometimes you have to have that little business meeting prior to getting to a business meeting," added Yaholnitsky. "You have your few minutes (in the plane) where you can discuss what you need to."
The service isn't just for businesses. De Vos noted that they flew a group of people in for the Elton John concert.
"It was kind of nice because it was a weekday concert. So you can go, you enjoy, you're not driving, and you're not tired and then you can get up and go to work the next day. The level of productivity is not lost to your company."
He said that their service is not just for the "super wealthy," but is great for groups.
"Let's say you were gonna go in, and you could possibly get tickets to a (Winnipeg) Jets game, or if you find eight (with season tickets), and they're all going to the same game, we can put them on here, fly them into Winnipeg, go to the game, and when the game's over we put them back on, bring them back here, and they can go to work the next day if we're talking about a mid-week game."
Yaholnitsky said if an anniversary is coming up, the couple can get some of their friends together and have dinner and a concert in Saskatoon.
"It may seem a little extravagant, but I think our world is getting to be extravagant," she said. "We're wanting more and more and more."
They find there are also a lot of people who have medical appointments to see specialists in Saskatoon, Edmonton or Winnipeg. They have taken advantage of the air service as well.
"By the time government pays for them to drive from Point A to Point B to see the specialist, it could be a day and a half. When you put it all together, we can take them to their appointment, and they can come back the same day and see their families, depending on the doctor, of course," said De Vos.
When time is money, it's all about saving time. He said it can be difficult to get people to understand that, but time is very important and has a cost as well.
Good Spirit has four captains and two first officers to man the cockpits, and Yaholnitsky said they are probably going to be hiring more because the company is growing right now. The airline also has a hangar in Flin Flon, Man. They consistently fly from there up to the uranium mines.
They also have all the paperwork in order to fly to the United States, and the company boasts a flight duration from Yorkton to Minneapolis of just over two hours. They will fly to any airport that is large enough to allow for their planes to land and take off, but those are their only restrictions.
The aircraft have pressurized cabins, with cruising speeds of 300 miles per hour and a service ceiling of 35,000 feet.
Good Spirit's website is www.goodspiritair.com, and flight requests can be made there.