Red Deer aiport talks with WestJet
The Red Deer airport is one of 32 prospective choices for WestJet to call home. Announced in May, West Jet chose the Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. to supply aircraft for its new regional airline expected to launch in June of 2013.
“Across Canada there isn’t a market the size of Central Alberta that isn’t serviced by a national carrier,” said RJ Steenstra, CEO for the Red Deer Airport. He, along with the mayors of both Red Deer County and the City of Red Deer were among the 32 communities across Canada pitching their airports as a base for the regional airline during a meeting at WestJet’s head office in Calgary about three weeks ago.
Steenstra added that decisions are still in the early planning stages and said while WestJet execs have announced the aircraft that they’re using, they haven’t yet announced a western base and it could be one of several different cities.
He said they’re expecting to hear back sometime in the fall on where they sit.
“The cities that come online first will be announced first and again things may change. … If they decide to put it in the east in the Toronto base, then the west won’t be serviced until sometime after that.”
WestJet has signed a letter of intent to purchase 20 Q400s NextGen with the option to purchase a further 25 aircraft. The airline will fly them to new cities and places not currently connected by WestJet.
“We were pleased to be invited and make a presentation,” said Steenstra.
Meanwhile, Steenstra said they are working on their area structure plan for further land development with the county and the city and hope to get things complete in the fall.
Currently Northwestern Air flies out of Red Deer and provides service to Kelowna, Dawson Creek and Edmonton.