Regina airport lost $13M in 2020, but CEO says he’s optimistic about future

From CBC News – link to source story

Airport leadership says they don’t need handouts, but need to get passengers back in the building

Heidi Atter · CBC News · Jun 16, 2021

James Bogusz, CEO of the Regina Airport Authority, says he’s hopeful when looking to the future. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The Regina airport has lost millions during the pandemic, but the CEO says he remains optimistic for the future. 

The city’s executive committee discussed the airport on Wednesday morning. The committee has given the airport a five-year property tax exemption with a few conditions. The airport requested more time on one condition. 

The airport was supposed to have found an airline service to provide daily flights to the United States by Jan. 1, 2021. However, due to the pandemic, that hasn’t happened. The committee voted to give the airport until the end of 2022 for the goal. 

“The pandemic has been devastating,” CEO James Bogusz told the committee.”It’s been very, very challenging for those airlines to make a business here in the Queen City. This is not unique, by the way, to our city. This is an issue right across Canada.” 

In an update on finances, Bogusz told the committee the airport relies on “seats,” and that seat count dropped dramatically during the pandemic. He said the airport currently has about 10 per cent of regular passenger volume, with seats selling at 30 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. 

Bogusz said the airport has lost $13 million in total. 

However, Bogusz said there’s a lot of positivity and good news lately. Flair Airlines has returned to Regina, Air Canada is offering new routes between Regina and Montreal, and Westjet added a new route between Regina and Kelowna.  

The Regina Airport Authority lost an estimated $13 million in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Neil Cochrane/CBC)

Bogusz said the airport has been able to maintain a very low cost structure through the reduction of staff, capital programs and operating budgets. 

“We know that the future is still a little uncertain, but we know it’s got a much brighter end that we saw last year,” Bogusz said. 

The airport is using the federal emergency wage subsidy. It didn’t receive anything from the federal budget in April, but expects to receive $2.6 million in federal aid this fall. Bogusz said that should cover about two months of expenses. 

“This will be helpful, what we really need is passengers. We need our service, not government handouts,” Bogusz said. “But I hope we’re all agreeing that the future is brighter and hopefully we can start self-funding again.” 

The airport is still committed to helping fund an additional bus service from Regina’s downtown to the airport, Bogusz said. The project was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We very much desire it, but we also want it to be successful for both parties. And right now, we’re still, sadly, in the very low passenger volumes today,” he said. “Hopefully we can revisit that in the near future as we see a recovery.”

Air Canada Supports Economic Recovery as the Country’s Leading Carrier, Serving 50 Cities Across Canada to Enable Canadians to Conveniently Connect

  • Most extensive domestic schedule supports Canada’s tourism and hospitality sector
  • Includes three new routes, re-established routes plus Air Canada Signature Class and Premium Economy Class cabins on select transcontinental routes
  • New refund policy gives additional peace of mind

MONTREAL, June 15, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada’s domestic peak summer schedule beginning at the end of June has been developed to advance the country’s economic recovery and support Canada’s tourism and hospitality businesses during the important summer period.  Three new domestic Canada routes, service to 50 Canadian airports, the re-establishment of select regional routes, and wide-body aircraft featuring Air Canada Signature Class and Premium Economy Class on select transcontinental routes are included. Seats with attractive pricing in all cabins are available for purchase now at aircanada.com, via the Air Canada App, Air Canada’s Contact Centres and travel agencies.

“With Canada’s ongoing vaccine roll-out acceleration together with various provincial governments’ reopening plans that include travel, this summer is looking brighter. As customers are ready to travel, Air Canada is taking a leadership position to support our partners in Canada’s tourism and hospitality sector with service to 50 destinations from coast to coast, the re-start of regional services and new, non-stop flights,” said Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada.

“We are especially proud that our new state-of-the-art, Canadian-manufactured Airbus A220 aircraft will be operating across Canada. With our industry-leading CleanCare+ bio-safety protocols, promotional fares including for our premium cabins, compelling Aeroplan opportunities, and our new refund policy offering additional peace of mind, customers can book Air Canada with confidence.  We look forward to welcoming you onboard when you’re ready to fly,” concluded Mr. Galardo.

Air Canada’s new refund policy provides customers an option for a refund to the original form of payment in instances where Air Canada cancels their flight or reschedules the departure time by more than three hours, irrespective of the reason. Air Canada customers will also have the option of accepting an Air Canada Travel Voucher or Aeroplan points with a 65% bonus.  Normal fare rules will apply when customers make voluntary changes to non-affected flights.

New route details:

RouteFrequencyAircraftEffective
Montreal-Deer LakeDailyCRJ900Jul 1, 2021
Montreal-Kelowna3x Weekly July4x Weekly AugAirbus A220June 26, 2021
Montreal-Saskatoon-ReginaDailyCRJ900Aug 1, 2021

Resumption of services:

Airport StationRouteEffectiveFrequency
Gander Gander – HalifaxJun 293x Weekly
 Gander – TorontoJul 25x Weekly
St. John’s St. John’s – TorontoJun 19Daily
Goose Bay Goose Bay – St. John’sJun 293x Weekly
Deer Lake Deer Lake – HalifaxAug 15x Weekly
Halifax Halifax – CalgaryAug 15x Weekly
Sydney Sydney – TorontoJun 263x Weekly
 Sydney – MontrealAug 1Daily
Charlottetown Charlottetown – TorontoJun 184x Weekly
Saint John Saint John – MontrealJun 303x Weekly
 Saint John – TorontoJul 24x Weekly
Fredericton Fredericton – MontrealJun 29Daily
 Fredericton – TorontoJul 15x Weekly
Bathurst Bathurst – MontrealJun 273x Weekly
Quebec City Quebec City – TorontoJun 191x Daily
Ottawa Ottawa – CalgaryJul 2Daily
 Ottawa – EdmontonAug 12x Weekly
North Bay North Bay – TorontoJun 283x Weekly
Fort McMurray Fort McMurray – TorontoJuly 12x Weekly
Winnipeg Winnipeg – CalgaryJun 206x weekly
 Winnipeg – MontrealAug 1Daily
Regina Regina – CalgaryJul 15x Weekly
Saskatoon Saskatoon – CalgaryJul 25x Weekly
Kamloops Kamloops – VancouverJun 294x Weekly
 Kamloops – CalgaryJun 284x Weekly
Comox Comox – VancouverJun 303x Weekly
Nanaimo Nanaimo – TorontoJul 41x Weekly
 Nanaimo – CalgaryJul 25x weekly
Prince Rupert Prince Rupert – VancouverJun 253x Weekly
Penticton Penticton – VancouverJun 294x Weekly
Sandspit Sandspit – VancouverJun 233x Weekly
Victoria Montreal – VictoriaJun 193x Weekly
 Toronto – VictoriaJun 194x Weekly
 Calgary – VictoriaJun 214x Weekly
Castlegar Castlegar – VancouverJun 283x Weekly
Kelowna Kelowna TorontoJun 184x Weekly
Yellowknife Yellowknife – CalgaryJun 303x Weekly

Air Canada is also providing connectivity to five additional regional communities through interline agreements with third party regional carriers: Wabush, Baie Comeau, Gaspe, Mont Joli, and Val d’Or.

Air Canada’s commercial schedule may be adjusted as required based on the COVID-19 trajectory and government restrictions.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline, and in 2020 was among the top 20 largest airlines in the world. It is Canada’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax. In 2020, Air Canada was named Global Traveler’s Best Airline in North America for the second straight year. In January 2021, Air Canada received APEX’s Diamond Status Certification for the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosafety program for managing COVID-19, the only airline in Canada to attain the highest APEX ranking. Air Canada has also committed to a net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050.

Sunwing announces convenient weekly flights from Regina and Saskatoon this winter

TORONTO, June 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Residents of Saskatchewan will have two departure gateways to choose from this winter, as Sunwing has announced it will be offering convenient weekly flights from both Regina International Airport and Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport. Flights will begin operating in December, just in time for residents looking to head down south for the holidays, and will operate until mid-April 2022.

“We look forward to resuming service from Saskatchewan this winter,” commented Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing. “With convenient flights from two regional airports across the province, residents can visit the most popular tropical destinations with ease under our wing.”

The flight schedule from Regina will be as follows:

  • Between Regina and Cancun, Mondays and Saturdays from December 11, 2021 until April 11, 2022
  • Between Regina and Puerto Vallarta, Fridays and Sundays from December 10, 2021 until April 10, 2022
  • Between Regina and Los Cabos, Thursdays from December 16, 2021 until April 14, 2022
  • Between Regina and Mazatlán, Fridays from December 17, 2021 until April 8, 2022
  • Between Regina and Punta Cana, Wednesdays from December 15, 2021 until April 13, 2022
  • Between Regina and Varadero, Tuesdays from December 14, 2021 until April 12, 2022

The flight schedule from Saskatoon will be as follows:

  • Between Saskatoon and Cancun, Mondays and Saturdays from December 11, 2021 until April 11, 2022
  • Between Saskatoon and Puerto Vallarta, Fridays and Sundays from December 10, 2021 until April 10, 2022
  • Between Saskatoon and Los Cabos, Thursdays from December 16, 2021 until April 14, 2022
  • Between Saskatoon and Mazatlán, Fridays from December 17, 2021 until April 8, 2022
  • Between Saskatoon and Punta Cana, Wednesdays from December 15, 2021 until April 13, 2022
  • Between Saskatoon and Varadero, Tuesdays from December 14, 2021 until April 12, 2022
  • Between Saskatoon and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Thursdays from December 9, 2021 until April 7, 2022

“After a long and hard winter, we’re sure that plenty of Regina residents are looking forward to heading back to the tropics,” said James Bogusz, President and CEO at Regina International Airport. “We have a long and successful partnership with Sunwing and we’re sure their winter service will be well received.”

Stephen Maybury, CEO of Saskatoon International Airport, also commented on the news. “With a return to travel on the horizon, we’re thrilled to welcome Sunwing back to Saskatoon for the 2021-2022 winter season. Our community has been anxiously awaiting the return of sun travel and will be excited to have Sunwing back with seasonal flights to many familiar sun destinations.”

Customers can choose from a range of resorts and vacation packages for every travel style. Grand Memories Varadero offers something for everyone, from sparkling pools to water sports and a kids club. Those planning an adults only getaway will love Platinum Yucatan Princess All Suites Resort & Spa, featuring an amazing spa and swim-out suites. Travellers can take their budget even further at Riu Jalisco in Riviera Nayarit with exclusive RIU®-topia inclusions for Sunwing guests like unlimited reservation-free dining.

About Sunwing

The largest integrated travel company in North America, Sunwing has more flights to the south than any other leisure carrier with convenient direct service from airports across Canada to popular sun destinations across the U.S.A., Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. This scale enables Sunwing to offer customers exclusive deals at top-rated resorts in the most popular vacation destinations as well as cruise packages and seasonal domestic flight service. Sunwing customers benefit from the assistance of the company’s own knowledgeable destination representatives, who greet them upon arrival and support them throughout their vacation journey. The company supports the communities where it operates through the Sunwing Foundation, a charitable initiative focused on the support and development of youth and humanitarian aid.

Flair Airlines Extends Domestic Schedule into 2022

The growing ULCC has released its Winter 2021/22 schedule for sale with fares starting from as low as $19

Edmonton, Alberta, May 27, 2021 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC), has expanded its schedule with flights to domestic destinations now on sale until March 2022.  With 24 routes and over 650,000 seats on sale, Winter 2021/22 will be Flair’s biggest ever winter schedule.

The winter schedule is part of Flair’s expansion of service to bring low fare air travel to more Canadians. The airline has 13 new aircraft on order joining the fleet in 2021 and 2022.

“We understand how keen Canadians are to travel again and our winter schedule will provide affordable air travel options to help connect the many families and friends who have been apart for the past year,” says Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer. “With fares available from as low as $19 and new aircraft joining the fleet, Flair will continue its expansion into the winter season.”

Bookings are now available for travel through March 26, 2022.

https://flyflair.com/where-we-fly

Regina Airport Authority nearly $3M in the red, hopeful for post-pandemic recovery

From Regina Leader Post – link to source story

Despite the growing red and the continued lack of passengers, Bogusz remains optimistic the airport will outlast the pandemic to become a viable business once again.

Lynn Giesbrecht  •  May 05, 2021

Regina International Airport CEO James Bogusz stands near the departures area in the airport in Regina, Saskatchewan on April 6, 2021.
Regina International Airport CEO James Bogusz stands near the departures area in the airport in Regina, Saskatchewan on April 6, 2021. PHOTO BY BRANDON HARDER /Regina Leader-Post

After a year characterized by silent terminals and mostly empty planes, the Regina Airport Authority (RAA) is millions of dollars in debt and seeking help to pay for needed runway maintenance, but officials remain hopeful for a brighter post-pandemic future.

What RAA president and CEO James Bogusz called “catastrophic travel levels” hit the non-profit organization’s bottom line hard as revenue fell by more than 50 per cent in 2020. Cost-saving measures were taken, but expenses could not fall as dramatically as revenue while still keeping the airport open.

Now the RAA is nearly $3 million in the red, and on track to be $5 million in debt come June or July.

“The debt level is very concerning,” Bogusz said during the RAA’s annual general meeting on Wednesday morning. The event was hosted virtually through a livestream on Facebook.

“This is primarily operating debt, which means we have to sell sandwiches and park cars and have aircraft come and go to use the money to pay for that debt. So this is debt that historically we’ve never had at all,” he said.

The airport’s main runway is also beginning to show its age and will need a full resurfacing in the next year or two. Bogusz said this is “routine maintenance” required every 15 years or so, but the project comes with price tag of between $25 and $30 million. Usually the RAA covers the cost through airport improvement fees — a $20 fee tacked on to every plane ticket sold — but with far fewer passengers this year, the airport doesn’t have its usual funds.

“To make this project a reality without the airport taking on unsustainable levels of debt, we’re going to be relying on some sort of infrastructure grant or loan program,” Bogusz said, noting the airport has already applied for several federal grants. He expects to have more information on any anticipated federal funding later this year.

Despite the growing red and the continued lack of passengers, Bogusz remains optimistic the airport will outlast the pandemic to become a viable business once again.

Land development around the airport is a key part of that future vision.

The airport has already worked with the City of Regina to make sure the city’s future developments leave room for a potential expansion of the main runway. Plans to diversify the airport’s income through more non-aviation revenue are also already being brought to life.

This will likely include bringing in more commercial properties to the land leading up to the airport, creating revenue through rent. These commercial entities could include retail stores, a gas station and even a hotel in the years to come, Bogusz said.

Repositioning the part of Regina Avenue approaching the airport to allow for more development is also part of this vision.

The airport is actively seeking commercial partners for this development, and Bogusz said efforts have met with some success, although he could not yet give names or brands.

“Hopefully in the coming months we’ll continue to do pre-development work to eventually open up these lots officially,” he said.

Commission set to hear proposal for long-term runway expansion at Regina International Airport

From CBC News – link to source story

Airport authority says expansion is years away, but planning must begin now

Heidi Atter · CBC News · Apr 07, 2021

James Bogusz, CEO of Regina Airport Authority, says it’s important to talk about the future now to prepare for the opportunity to expand in decades to come. (Neil Cochrane/CBC)

The Regina planning commission is set to debate amending the official community plan to allow the Regina International Airport to expand its runway. 

The changes to the OPC would mean the city would consult with the airport authority for any development close to it, and replace existing maps with updated ones. However, the authority says people shouldn’t be concerned about immediate expansion. 

“I need to be abundantly clear, there is no expansion plan today. There’s no expansion planned for next year, but there certainly may be in the next couple of decades,” said James Bogusz, CEO of the Regina Airport Authority. 

“If that time comes and we don’t have the space to build an expansion … that extension could never be built and that would be very detrimental for the long-term viability of our community and the ability to attract air service from various parts of the globe,” he said.

The city report agrees, saying the two maps and OCP text changes would ensure the airport’s future growth is protected and addressed as developments come forward. 

“Now, even though in the short term, our airport, obviously we’ve had a big downturn … we’re going to bounce back in the future.”

Bogusz says any expansions to Regina International Airport won’t be in this decade. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

“As you start looking long term and when I mean long term, we’re talking 10, 15 could be 20 years or more out. We have to make sure that the lands adjacent to the airport or nearby the airport are developed in a compatible way.”

It’s important the airport’s noise and building height be accounted for in developments, Bogusz says, adding that’s why this needs to be talked about now, even during the pandemic.The airport is currently focusing on the pandemic recovery and paying down its debt, so it will be some time before it expands.  

Service review 

NAV Canada doing a service review of Regina and six other airports to look at whether it is necessary to keep the control tower. In February, air-traffic controllers at Regina International Airport were given layoff notices. 

The review was supposed to continue until spring and then be given to Transport Canada. The airport authority and the mayor have been calling for the layoff notices to be reversed. 

Bogusz says he would like to believe that an approval from the city for future expansion would affect the review. However, this isn’t a new plan, Bogusz says. There are plans for long-term expansion on their website. 

“We’ve made NAV Canada more than aware that the capital city is growing, the province is growing. And the fact that this is even up for discussion is absolutely — I’ll use the word ridiculous,” Bogusz said.

Regina International Airport is among seven being reviewed by NAV Canada. (John Hill/Twitter)

Bogusz says they’ve asked NAV Canada numerous times to halt the review, and asked the minister of transport to step in. 

“NAV Canada, unfortunately, has a very narrow scope. What they’re looking at, they see this as a safety review, only they’re not taking into consideration future growth, future viability of growing province, the capital city status. None of this seems to matter,” he said. “And we don’t agree with that at all.”

Renaming Dewdney Park on agenda 

The planning commission is also set to discuss the renaming of Dewdney Park. City council unanimously approved the renaming of Dewdney Pool — in the park — last week. 

In past reports from the city administration, it said Edgar Dewdney was a historical figure who was “directly responsible for the development and administration of harmful policies toward Indigenous peoples,” including establishing and overseeing residential schools.

In July 2020, the group Decolonizing Relations submitted a petition requesting the pool, park and Dewdney Avenue be renamed. The city is currently creating a legacy process to review the avenue name. 

If it gets final approval on Wednesday, the park would be renamed Buffalo Meadows Park,a name approved by the North Central Community Association and Central Zone board. The city would then work with local groups and a local elder to hold a ceremony in spring 2021.

Dewdney Pool was approved to be renamed last week, while a report recommending Dewdney Park be renamed goes before the Regina planning commission today. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

In another development, the executive committee is set hear about the first part of planning for a replacement facility for the Brandt Centre. 

The report — called Brandt Centre 2.0 — is the first phase in strategizing for the future of the Brandt Centre. Councillors will get feedback from local residents and, if they decide the planning can continue, an economic impact assessment will at sites and funding. 

The cost of replacing the facility exactly is estimated at $78.4 million. City administration says in the report it would cost an estimated $100 million to build a new, multi-purpose event centre to “meet the needs” of Regina for the next 50 years. 

Duplicating the Brandt Centre would cost an estimated $78.4 million. But building a new, multi-purpose event centre to ‘meet the needs’ of Regina for the next 50 years would cost an estimated $100 million, city officials said in a recent report. (Neil Cochrane/CBC)

The Brandt Centre, a 43-year old multi-use facility, is home to the Regina Pats Hockey Club and hosts numerous sporting and cultural events and concerts.

The committee will also debate supporting the 2022 Saskatchewan Winter Games with an in-kind donation of facility rentals, valued up to $50,000. The 2021 Saskatchewan Winter Games were cancelled in advance due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

WestJet leads domestic recovery with the addition of 11 new routes


Airline’s investments in Western Canada support travel and tourism in anticipation of summer demand 

CALGARY, AB, March 26, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet today announced 11 new domestic routes across Western Canada. The routes will offer new nonstop service for 15 communities across Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The enhancements follow an announcement made earlier in the week to return previously suspended service to Atlantic Canada and Quebec City.  

A message from WestJet President and CEO Ed Sims, on the airline’s commitment to Canada’s safe restart 

“As we look to the coming months with cautious optimism, we know our restart agenda will be pivotal to Canada’s economic recovery,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “Stimulating air travel benefits all Canadians and supports those hardest hit; with one in every 10 Canadian jobs tied to travel and tourism, the ripple effect benefits our whole country.”  

The new routes include service between Toronto (YYZ) and Comox (YQQ); between Ottawa (YOW) and Victoria (YYJ) and eight new routes connecting the prairie provinces to British Columbia tourism destinations, such as Regina (YQR) to Kelowna (YLW). Full schedule details and start dates are outlined below. 

“We are at an inflection point; one that is buoyed by the rollout of vaccines, months of learning how to take appropriate precautions, and a view to Canada’s beautiful summer months that allows us to spend more time outdoors,” continued Sims. “If Canadians were to shift two-thirds of their planned international-leisure travel spend towards domestic tourism, it would help sustain 150,000 jobs and accelerate recovery by one year, all while seeing what Canada has to offer.” 

New routes: 

Route Frequency Effective from 
Toronto – Fort McMurray 2x weekly (Wed, Sun) June 6, 2021 
Kelowna – Saskatoon 2x weekly (Thu, Sun) June 24, 2021 
Kelowna – Regina 2x weekly (Thu, Sun) June 24, 2021 
Saskatoon – Victoria 2x weekly (Thu, Sun) June 24, 2021 
Winnipeg – Victoria 3x weekly (Thu, Sat, Sun) June 24, 2021 
Edmonton – Kamloops 2x weekly (Thu, Sun) June 24, 2021 
Edmonton – Penticton 2x weekly (Thu, Sun) June 24, 2021 
Edmonton – Nanaimo 2x weekly (Fri, Sun) June 25, 2021 
Prince George – Abbotsford 2x weekly (Fri, Sun) June 25, 2021 
Ottawa – Victoria 1x weekly (Sat) June 26, 2021 
Toronto – Comox 1x weekly (Sat) June 26, 2021 

About WestJet 

In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com

Air Canada adds triangle route between Regina, Montreal, Saskatoon

From CBC News – link to source story

The new flight will begin on June 25 and end on Sept. 26

Alexander Quon · CBC News · Mar 20, 2021

An Air Canada flight from Mexico City arrives at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Friday, March 20, 2020. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

A new flight is coming to the beleaguered airports of Saskatoon and Regina. 

James Bogusz, president and CEO of the Regina Airport Authority, has confirmed that Air Canada will introduce a route between Regina and Montreal as part of its summer service plan. 

It’s the first time there will be a flight between the two locations in the history of the Regina Airport, Bogusz said. 

The nonstop route from Regina and Montreal will make a stop in Saskatoon on its way back, making it a triangle route between the three cities. 

“We’re hopeful this is a start of better things to come in the future,” said Bogusz. 

In an interview with CBC on Friday, Bogusz said they’ve been attempting to market a flight between Regina and Montreal to Air Canada for at least two-and-a-half years. 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a dramatic shake-up of the industry, Bogusz said that it appears Air Canada is open to taking a little more risk by trying something new.

“We think it’s going to be a winner for them. Obviously, it has to be a winner once there’s more, you know, passengers traveling generally. But we think it’s going to be a great opportunity for summer service,” he said. 

The new flight will begin on June 25 and operate until Sept. 26. 

Bogusz said he is thrilled with the new flight and added that he thinks it’ll be the start of a “snowball effect” for the authority, which typically contributes more than $800 million into the local economy. 

“Our air service has been so devastated and we’ve had so few flights for so many months, you know, our contribution to the economy has become much less substantial,” Bogusz said. 

The Regina and Saskatoon airports have been hard hit by the pandemic and its effect on air travel. 

Both recently lost their designations as international airports after changes by Transport Canada. Although both airports have applied to be reinstated, their future status remains undetermined. 

Air traffic controllers in Regina were laid off last month amid a service review at the airport, which was looking at whether it was necessary to keep the control tower. 

Bogusz said at the time that the layoffs were a good indication that NAV Canada, the company that runs the tower, had intentions to close the control tower. 

Regina, Saskatoon airports could lose international designation

From CTV News – link to source story and video

Brendan Ellis, CTV News Regina.ca Digital Content Producer | March 15, 2021

REGINA — Regina and Saskatoon’s airports could lose their international designation, according to documents released by Transport Canada.

The Regina International Airport sign is seen in this file image. (Gareth Dillistone/CTV News)

In an Advisory Circular effective Jan. 26, Transport Canada listed all Canadian airports that will continue to hold the international designation. Regina and Saskatoon were not included on that list.

“Airports not listed above having the term ‘International’ or ‘INTL’ published in the header information of the aeronautical products must demonstrate to the Regional TCCA office, no later than June 30, 2021, that they meet the requirements for designation as stated in this AC to maintain their publication as such,” the Transport Canada advisory states.

Regina Airport Authority President and CEO James Bogusz confirmed the move to CTV News on Monday morning.

“As it sits today, ourselves, Saskatoon and a number of other Canadian airports have had their international designation removed as part of this announcement,” Bogusz said.

Bogusz said that while the airports will continue to be able to receive cross border flights from the United States, the status of flights from other international destinations is unclear.

“A big part of our flying in the winter is to international destinations such as Mexico, Cuba, Caribbean,” Bogusz said. “But we have not received confirmation of [how] those types of flights will be impacted in the future.”

With both Regina and Saskatoon losing the international designation, that would leave the province without an international airport, and without one in its capital city.

However, it is possible for the decision to be changed. Bogusz said the Regina airport is in the process of trying to regain international status.

“We’re basically working through the steps, which primarily is reaching out to other agencies, like Canada Border Services, the Public Health Agency of Canada and a number of others, to confirm that we meet all their requirements to be an international airport,” Bogusz said. “That work is underway as we speak.”

Airports must make their case to Transport Canada by the end of June.

“If an airport is not on this list but is of the opinion that it meets all of the requirements for designation as “International” that airport should make a request for approval to TCCA in accordance with the criteria in this document no later than June 30, 2021,” the advisory states.

Andrew Leeming, a VP with Skyxe, said they do not believe Saskatoon’s airport will lose international status.

“In reviewing the criteria, the Saskatoon Airport Authority does not anticipate any change in the International designation as the main requirements are already met,” said Leeming in an email.  

International flights are not currently flying into Regina due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Bogusz says losing those flights in the future would impact the airport’s pandemic recovery.

“We want to make sure our airport can get back up to full strength and the international designation is certainty a component of that, and we are going to push hard to make sure we recover that,” Bogusz said.

Regina Wascana MP Michael Kram voiced his concerns about the move in a release Monday, calling it a “blow to Saskatchewan air transportation infrastructure.”

“The term ‘international’ is not just an honourary title. It’s a global classification system that airlines use to determine where they direct flights. The loss of this designation may mean that charter flights and the few direct international flights still coming into Regina may be redirected to other centres,” Kram said, in a statement.

“The one ray of hope is that there is an appeal process for airports to reclaim their status. I will continue to consult with the executive of the Regina Airport and fight for their interests on the committee.”

Regina International Airport February 2021 Update

From YQR – Regina International Airport Social Media