EDITORIAL – Attracting more air service to Kamloops is a major challenge
SO A NEW AIR SERVICE is coming to Kamloops and there are big plans to bring even more to the Tournament Capital.
Flair Airlines, a budget carrier out of Edmonton and formerly based in Kelowna, will fly between Kamloops and Edmonton three times a week beginning in June. The announcement has lifted the spirits of community leaders, who are talking boldly about bringing even more air service to the city.
“Everything is on the table,” as Coun. Bill Sarai, president of the Kamloops Airport Authority, puts it.
The Flair announcement is great news, and here’s hoping the airline is successful with the route that was abandoned by other airlines.
Flair is a relatively new arrival in the air passenger business, recently expanding its fleet of 737s and upping its marketing with new colours and branding.
Part of its expansion was the acquisition of NewLeaf Travel, for which it had operated ultra-discount flights for a time. You may remember NewLeaf, since it once offered twice-weekly flights between Kamloops and Edmonton, and Kamloops to Victoria.
It began flying from Kamloops in the summer of 2016 and lasted only a few weeks before suspending service. Many other air services have started up here, only to fail.
Sarai mentions going after international service and it’s a great idea but a big challenge. There was the Horizon Air service between Kamloops and Seattle that served the ski market on and off for several years.
And so it has gone for decades. Airlines come and go. Whether it be the big guys like Air Canada or WestJet, or the discounters trying to break into the market, they only fly routes that make them money. They aren’t in it just to be nice guys.
Getting more air service here will depend entirely on a business case that puts bums in seats. Let’s hope Sarai, the chamber, Tourism Kamloops and the airport are able to make that case.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, alternate TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think the city of Kamloops could really help the airport by ensuring more efficient access. I travel from the south and counted 33 traffic lights between Aberdeen and the airport. As well there is no accommodation near the airport or reasonable long-term parking. My wife and I are now using Abbotsford.
On that effect I have been repeatedly asking for a bridge near the airport connecting to the Trans-Canada Highway near the western scale. Not only it would guarantee a much quicker access to the airport but said road would become a route for all heavy trucks traffic re-directing them away from all residential areas of Kamloops.
Kamloops needs to become an attractive destination before anything else. Being saying this for years and for years I witness our City come up way short on the requirements for it to become an attractive destination. For example we could be a world destination for some serious cycling stuff. “Everything is on the table”…yeah whatever…