WestJet is bringing its air service to the East Kootenay, and representatives throughout the region are expressing their excitement.
On Friday morning, WestJet announced new regional air service to Cranbrook’s Canadian Rockies International Airport (CRIA), to begin March 7, 2018.
The new service comes under an agreement with Pacific Coastal Airlines.
The Trail Times reached out to Pacific Coastal’s Quentin Smith about the potential impact to local service out of YZZ (Trail Regional Airport).
Smith said it’s not in the works at this time.
“That would entirely be the decision of WestJet and because the Trail airport does not have passenger and baggage security it would be problematic.”
He also said there are not current plans to fly direct from YZZ to Cranbrook, nevertheless he sees the benefit of the new agreement.
“It will benefit both carriers as it will create more feed into (WestJet) hubs from communities that are not large enough to support the Q400,” Smith said.
“And it enables PCA to grow into communities that we would not consider without the marketing and financial support of a major carrier.”
Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt said the announcement was very exciting news for Cranbrook and area.
“Residents from all of the East and West Kootenays have been waiting for years for WestJest connections, giving access to destinations around the world,” Pratt said. “This also opens up the world with easier access to the Kootenays.”
Pratt added he was pleased to see Pacific Coastal involved with WestJest on the project.
“Pacific Coastal has been a great supporter of the Canadian Rockies International Airport, and this solidifies their other routes with us. We will be putting a concentrated effort into encouraging the public to take advantage of this added service.”
Today’s announcement represents an air service advancement milestone that we’ve been striving towards for years, said Tristen Chernove, CEO of Elevate Airports, which manages CRIA.
“This partnership between tow great companies, WestJest and Pacific Coastal Airlines, is a best case scenario allowing for the right size aircraft (Saab 34), providing high frequency to and from Calgary and timely connections with WestJet’s national and global network.
“Welcome, WestJest — you’ll soon see just how delighted we are to have you operating in the Kootenays.”
– With files from Cranbrook Townsman