Angel Flight East Kootenay has indefinitely ended its services due to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe.

The service, which would fly East Kootenay residents to medical appointments in Kelowna free of charge, will be called off until further notice.

Brent Bidston, president of Angel Flight East Kootenay said that the pandemic has caused curtailing of appointments, leading to a lowered demand for flight services.

“As a consequence of everything that’s going on, probably 99% of our clients have had their appointments cancelled or at least delayed. Even if we were operating, we probably wouldn’t have done any flights in April anyway,” said Bidston.

Bidston added that he expects that medical staff in the province and Angel Flight will be quite busy once they are able to resume operations.

“All those people are piling up, needing appointments. There is a limit to how long you can delay appointments for some people, so there’s going to be some level of urgency with some people. I actually feel quite sorry for our health service when this is all over because they are just going to be going non-stop trying to catch up,” said Bidston. “I think it’s going to get very busy. We are expecting quite a bit of demand for us as well.”

Angel Flight said that those who have appointments they need to attend can still apply through its website. It added that it will fly those that need transportation once appointments are rescheduled and they can start their services back up again.

It said that it will continue to monitor the situation and update its information as needed.