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Seaplane Seattle
Downtown Seattle and the Space Needle are visible as a float plane takes off from lake Union. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Direct seaplane flights between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., have moved another step closer toward becoming reality and providing an efficient travel option for business and tech workers in the two cities.

Business In Vancouver reported Monday that a pilot program is being launched by the Canadian Border Services Agency in which a temporary customs facility will be located at the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre in Vancouver. The addition of such a facility has long been a sticking point.

Reports last fall, including in The Seattle Times, said that Harbour Air Group and Seattle’s Kenmore Air had agreed on a partnership and planned to launch flights in the near future. BIV reported that the flights could take place four times per week between Coal Harbour and Seattle’s Lake Union, where Kenmore has a facility.

The flights, which would take less than an hour, are an especially attractive option for travelers looking to avoid further-flung airports, drive times and border congestion.

Float planes taking off and landing on Lake Union are easily visible from Amazon’s numerous buildings in the neighborhood at the south end of the lake. In September the tech giant announced that it was doubling its workforce in Vancouver from 1,000 to 2,000 people.

Microsoft also has a sizable workforce to the north. The software giant marked the grand opening of a new engineering facility in Vancouver in 2016.

“Transportation is an important regional component to creating greater economic opportunity throughout the Cascadia innovation corridor,” Edoardo De Martin, director of operations in Vancouver for Microsoft, told BIV. “We need multiple solutions to connect the region’s innovation hubs and we are thrilled by the continued momentum to help better connect Vancouver and Seattle.”

Government officials from British Columbia and Washington announced last month that they were funding a study to look into the business case for an ultra-high-speed transit system connecting Vancouver, Seattle and Portland.

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