Post-pandemic flights: Edmonton hopes $10M investment will bring new routes to EIA

From CTV News – link to source story – Thanks CW

Jay Rosove, CTV News Edmonton | Monday, June 7, 2021

Busy EIAThe City of Edmonton is hoping a nearly $10 million investment will help attract new flights, and travelers to the EIA in the post-pandemic world. (File Photo)

EDMONTON — Alberta’s capital city is investing $9.88 million into the Edmonton International Airport (EIA), in anticipation of post-pandemic travel.  

City council voted in favour of the move during Monday’s meeting.

The money is meant to account for two-thirds of the new Air Service Opportunities Fund. 

The EIA hopes the remaining $5 million will come from other neighbouring municipalities. 

The $15 million fund would go toward maintaining existing direct flights, restoring flights that were cancelled during the pandemic, and attracting newly established direct flights. 

“These flights we want to get are going to be long-standing,” Edmonton Global CEO Malcolm Bruce said during the meeting. “This is really the ‘prime the pump’ so to speak, to get it started.”

During its annual public meeting, last month, the EIA said it recorded a net loss of $89.3 million in 2020, and that passenger demand fell by 68 per cent compared to 2019. 

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson was one of 11 council members to vote in favour of the funding.

“If we do not protect our airports competiveness and intervene strategically here, with our neighbours,” he said before the vote, “air service in the aftermath of COVID will consolidate in Calgary.”

The fund can only be accessed after an airline has agreed to establish a new route, or restore an old one. 

The money will be distributed over the next three years.