Integra Air leaves Cranbrook to draft new strategy

Flights from Cranbrook to Edmonton withdrawn while airline comes up with a more profitable plan

An Integra 16-passenger plane sits on the tarmac at Canadian Rockies International Airport.

Integra Air is pulling out of Cranbrook airport for 18 months so it can restructure its service to better suit demand.

“The occupancy level has actually been quite low, which is the concern right now,” Brent Gateman, the airline’s CEO, told The Townsman.

The Lethbridge-based airline began a Cranbrook to Edmonton route last summer, and has scheduled flights three or five times a week for the past 14 months.

But the last scheduled flight will take off on September 7. Integra will then invest in larger aircraft that will allow it offer more frequent flights at lower prices. Currently, Integra uses 16-passenger planes for the Cranbrook-Edmonton route. Gateman said it will use 32-passenger planes when it resumes the route.

“It seems strange to add a bigger airplane with more frequency when you’re not even filling the airplane you’ve got right now,” said Gateman. “But it comes down to: is the reason the demand and the number of people wanting to travel? Or is it the fact that the travel isn’t at the time and at the price point that allows people to make it a choice? We feel the latter is the case and that just means we have to come back at it at a different angle. Unfortunately, we’re not prepared to do that right away. We need some time to go do that and come back.”

Gateman speculated that it would take 18 months to make those changes.

“It’s really hard at this point to be able to set a date. We hope that it is within the next 18 months, but no guarantees.”

Larger aircraft will mean Integra’s costs per seat mile are reduced, in turn meaning ticket prices will come down and there could be as many as two flights a day.

“We will probably be looking at twice the frequency – a morning flight and a late afternoon flight would most likely be the schedule. But a lot of that is going to depend on some of the interlying connections we are trying to explore to tap into additional markets to help feed the service,” said Gateman.

Integra hopes a new schedule will better appeal to commuters to the oilsands and diamond mines in northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

The airline will honour any current bookings, Gateman said.

“The service will be cut off after the last booking. Everyone that currently has a reservation will be serviced.”

Just Posted

Cadets ‘rescued’ in joint training exercise

552 Key City Royal Air Cadets team up with volunteer civilian search and rescue organization.

Fernie misses mark for Hockeyville final four

Residents of Fernie were surprised Saturday night, when the final four communities… Continue reading

Water system replacement done, boil water notice remains

Boil water notice for south Cranbrook in effect through Thursday, possibly Friday morning

Cranbrook welcomes the Thrashpocalypse

Heavy metal monsters Anthrax and Testament play Western Financial Place May 18

SPCA seeks help to treat dog found with collar embedded in neck

Rusty, a shar-pei/Labrador cross, needs another two months to recover, with care costing $2,400

VIDEO: Mount Baker Jazz Band performs live

The Mount Baker Jazz Band performed at middle and elementary schools around… Continue reading

VIDEO: Mount Baker Jazz Band performs live

The Mount Baker Jazz Band performed at middle and elementary schools around… Continue reading

Cutter Ranch owners named Outstanding Young Farmers for BC & Yukon

Tyler McNaughton and Sacha Bentall awarded at gathering of OYF alumni and friends in Abbotsford, March 14.

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Okanagan Falls winery showing international photo project

Liquidity Wines will be sole Canadian show of National Geographic’s Photo Ark

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Most Read