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'Shortest international flights' begin from Friday Harbor'Shortest international flights' begin from Friday Harbor

Life in the remote San Juan Island, Washington, community of Friday Harbor has taken a novel turn with the initiation of what is being called “the shortest international flight in North America” from the local airport to Victoria, British Columbia.

Canadian air service operator Northstar Air Tours launched the service after a security screening facility was built at the Friday Harbor Airport in a cooperative effort between local government agencies and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to a local news outlet.

The service, provided in nine-passenger Britten-Norman Islander twin-engine airplanes, will reduce travel time to the Canadian destination to 12 minutes, in contrast with the many hours it has taken island residents to reach Vancouver by sea and land routes.

Daily flights for $49 are planned for later this summer—in time to give a boost to the island’s tourism business.

The arrival in Friday Harbor of the initial flight was marked a by a ceremony in which the town crier of Sidney, British Columbia, disembarked from the aircraft in ceremonial attire and read a proclamation heralding the beginning of service and offering congratulations.

The Friday Harbor Airport also served up new flight experiences to 62 graduating Friday Harbor High School seniors, who were treated to free graduation night scenic flights by Kenmore Air Express, said Warren Hendrickson, AOPA Northwest Mountain regional manager.

Twelve of the students had never been aboard an aircraft before.

 “I do not know if we will get any new pilots out of this but at least they were exposed to aviation,” said airport manager and AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Stuart Hansen.

Topics: Canada, Cross Border

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