Nicole Liebermann/Fernie Free Press
East Kootenay residents will have to wait a little longer to find out if a WestJet service is coming to the Canadian Rockies International Airport. Calgary-based airline WestJet has confirmed there have been some delays in announcing the launch of their regional air service.
Details about WestJet’s new regional airline Encore was originally set to be released on Monday, but the first round of communities to be included in the service will not be announced until next month.
WestJet is in the process of launching Encore, which is expected to begin flying in the second half of this year. Small and mid-sized communities across Canada have been lobbying to convince WestJet to include them in the new service, and Cranbrook is still in the running.
During the fall, the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce led the campaign to get East Kootenay residents who rely on the airport to show their support. Residents sent in letters to the airport and directly to WestJet, explaining what an asset the service would be for the surrounding communities and businesses.
The Canadian Rockies International Airport met with WestJet several times throughout 2012, and is still in communications with the company about the possibility of bringing the regional air service to Cranbrook.
WestJet Encore will likely launch with just a few destinations and then begin to expand coast-to-coast. WestJet said the regional airline has the potential to create 1,800 jobs across the country.