In February of this year, Air Canada announced it would be discontinuing regional flights between Cranbrook and Calgary at the end of April.
“Air Canada’s regional flights in Western Canada will be operated exclusively by Jazz as part of our new agreement, and the smaller aircraft currently flying from Cranbrook-Calgary are being phased out of the regional fleet in Western Canada as we begin modernizing the regional fleet,” Air Canada’s statement read.“We review all of our routes on a regular basis, and our scheduling decisions are commercially based.”
WestJet still services the route to Calgary, but not everyone was happy to see Air Canada drop it. Kootenay Columbia MP Wayne Stetski is one of them, and he is sponsoring a petition to maintain Air Canada service to Calgary.
The petition calls for federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau to recommend Air Canada maintain service between Canadian Rockies International Airport and Calgary International Airport. It was started by William McKerrow, and recommends that one trip per day in each direction be maintained.
It reads as follows:
• National air carrier connectivity between Calgary and Cranbrook has been in place since 1967 and the local economy of Kootenay—Columbia is tied to this access;
• The visitor economy of Kootenay—Columbia is showing growth and regional tourism marketing organizations have targeted several campaigns around the air services;
• Many residents of Kootenay—Columbia rely on air travel to Calgary to access healthcare and other services;
• Individuals and businesses will likely face a lack of seat availability with a single airline servicing this route due to the lack of total seat capacity to meet demand;
• In 2018, 68,926 passengers flew between Calgary and Cranbrook, the seat capacity on this route was fully utilized and this lost capacity is not being made up anywhere else in the schedule, forcing a dramatic contraction of annual passengers while demand has been proven;
• The past years of passenger growth allowed the Airport Improvement Fee (AIF) to be reduced from $11 per passenger to $4 per passenger based on the total air carrier capacity; and
• The loss of 4 daily flights may result in an increase to the AIF.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Minister of Transport to recommend to Air Canada President and CEO, Calin Rovinescu, to maintain a minimum of one flight a day each way between the Canadian Rockies International Airport and the Calgary International Airport.
“It is important to maintain transportation options in the region, particularly since we’re still facing gaps from the departure of Greyhound bus service in 2018,” Stetski said.
The electronic petition is open to signatures until May 9th, 2019 here
The paper petition can be signed at MP Stetski’s Cranbrook constituency office until May 9th, 2019 and extra copies can be obtained by contacting the office. The petition will be presented in the House of Commons in May.