“I think things are starting to unfold in our favour for a change,” said acting CEO of the Regina Airport Authority (RAA) Ken Waschuck.
The RAA gave their quarterly update on Wednesday.
“The economy seems to be picking up somewhat in Saskatchewan, the dollar is at least stabilizing … there’s just a better feeling!”
Waschuck said the growth pattern in the province continues, which means more demand for services, which in turn gets noticed by the airlines.
More demand also means more lineups and Waschuck said it’s frustrating to see because it’s not in their hands to fix the problem. The airport security
The airport security is run by GardaWorld Aviation Services, an outside company controlled by Canadian Air Transportation Security Agency(CATSA).
He said passengers pay anywhere from $7 to $27 per flight for an “air traveler security charge” and that money goes to CATSA.
“Were not convinced that a large enough portion of it gets back to where it’s supposed to go (like) screening passengers,” he said.
Waschuck said the bottom line comes down to funding.
International flights sooner than you think
“Were not going to rest until we get trans-border service restored,” he said. “Which I assume, and I’m confident will be in 2018.”
Waschuck added talks haven’t stopped with international airlines, it’s just that the fall flight schedule has already been released.
Greyhound has a new home
The airport also welcomed a new guest into its space last weekend. Greyhound Canada has moved its bus stop to the airport and Waschuck hopes passengers take advantage of the restaurants inside to help support business.
“There may be some synergies between ground and air traffic in that respect. Hopefully, somebody from Swift Current or wherever can take a bus in and get on a plane or get home on a bus from (a returning flight),” he said.
Logistical things, like where Greyhound staff will park etc., will be smoothed out soon according to Waschuk.
New CEO by November
Waschuck said the airport will have a new CEO by November.
He chuckled a bit adding he was not running for the top spot.
“Sometime in November we will be offering the job to somebody,” Waschuck said. “Then it becomes the question of ‘can they start the next day,’ if they’re local or will it be weeks away before that person can come on board.”
He said the RAA has about nine or 10 strong candidates. Adding that some are local, some from across Canada and even some international candidates.
Seasonal flights are here early
Seasonal flights for the winter months began this week at the airport.
Wednesday night’s flight to Las Vegas is notably sooner than the service has started in past years. Waschuck said even with the tragedy that occurred there, he hasn’t seen a change in demand.
“The fourth of October is a couple weeks earlier than last year I believe…they recognize the demand is there. That’s been a very successful route for WestJet,” he said.
The growing demand for this route is a change from news over the past several years at the airport concerning US routes, as flights to Minneapolis, Chicago and Denver had all been dropped.
Not only will planes take off to Las Vegas earlier in 2017, but the frequency will also pick up.
“They’ll go twice a week and, for a while I believe, they’re even going to go three times a week and then Phoenix starts shortly after that and Orlando not long after that,” he explained.
— With files from Kevin Martel.