Air Canada is ramping up service to the Northwest Regional Airport (YXT) this fall with an added flight to Vancouver, and daily, non-stop service to Calgary.
The airline recently increased its daily summer flights to Vancouver from four to five, and now based on forecasted demand will keep that extra flight for the fall and winter schedule.
Additionally, the new Air Canada Jazz year-round daily service to Calgary will commence Oct. 28.
The company’s director of government relations, Serge Corbeil, says the surge in Northwest development projects are directly behind the decisions.
“What we’ve heard from the energy industry that they’re very much looking forward to the Calgary service,” Corbeil says.
“We’re confident now growth in the region here tells us this flight will do really well. Of course it’s also up to the community to make use of it and keep it for the long run.”
Corbeil visited the airport Wednesday to share the news with gathered members of the business community, local government and airport officials.
“The Airport Society is thrilled to have another route added to our business schedule,” says Terrace-Kitimat Airport Society President Gary MacCarthy. “Air Canada has been a valued partner in helping us create the true regional airport.”
The Calgary schedule is being timed to allow passengers from other points in Alberta to connect with the Terrace flight. The daily schedule calls for a 10 a.m. Calgary departure with a 11:55 a.m. return.
The route will be serviced by the 78-seat Bombardier Q-400 aircraft.
This isn’t the first time Air Canada has introduced a Calgary route to YXT. Both they and WestJet offered direct service in 2015 at the height of LNG speculation in the northwest, but both withdrew when passenger numbers failed to live up to expectations. WestJet tried again in 2018 ahead of LNG Canada’s construction boom, but cancelled its twice-weekly flights after just six months.
Corbeil says the decision to launch the route this time around is based on the most recent passenger trends.
“We have significant experience here flying five times to Vancouver daily starting this summer. We’ve seen already this added capacity has been quite successful. With the LNG Canada project going on, we already saw the demand from that market [from Calgary] via Vancouver into Terrace and we’re quite confident the demand is there to operate this flight.”
Neither he or MacCarthy expects the Calgary route to cut into demand for the added Vancouver flight.
“I think Air Canada is going to be surprised by the traffic they’re going to get,” says MacCarthy. “Industry is telling us to ramp up for LNG in the spring of 2020, so it’s very timely Air Canada is bringing this in for the fall.”