Prince Albert makes pitch to WestJet
City staff from Prince Albert recently arrived back in town after a meeting with WestJet in Calgary last week.
Mayor Jim Scarrow and city officials were in Cowtown as one of thirty communities invited to make a formal presentation to the airline regarding their new regional service.
“I think it went quite well,” said Scarrow, looking back on the presentation.
“I think Prince Albert is certainly a growing market for not only aviation, but for virtually every product and service available, so I think we made a good presentation in terms of economy of Saskatchewan and of Prince Albert. And how it would add to our community and add to WestJet’s regional airline.”
Scarrow emphasized the regions market size during the presentation, as a main reason for WestJet to expand into the area.
“We estimate our market size to have been growing over the past five years,” he said.
“We anticipate around 150,000 people use Prince Albert as a primary center of shopping for services, health services, recreation and entertainment.”
There is no definite timeline for the next step, as WestJet will assess each of the 30 communities before making a decision on where they will expand.
WestJet has placed a conditional order for 20 Q400 NextGen turboprop aircrafts from Bombardier, with an option to purchase another 25 aircraft. They are hoping to begin operations in these new smaller centers sometime in the second half of 2013.
Scarrow believes that a regional air service would be an enormous benefit to the city.
“I think part of the economic development of the community really depends on east-west air service,” noted Scarrow.
“Where we’re confident that the people from Central and Northern Saskatchewan would find it very convenient to do their travel through the regional airline and provide daily travel it would be a major attraction to tourism that would provide a way to get people into Prince Albert.”
The city recently completed an airport ‘master plan’ which has also been submitted to WestJet as part of their proposal.