As of May first, Flair Airlines is again offering service to and from Regina, and the news has Regina International Airport CEO James Bogusz feeling optimistic.
“More aircraft will hopefully bring in more travellers, which of course may mean they’ll rent a car, park their car, buy a sandwich, and all of that really helps the airport,” said Bogusz Saturday morning, hours before the scheduled arrival of a Flair flight from Vancouver.
“But, what this really does is create more confidence for those who are travelling, probably right now for essential purposes.”
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The low-cost airline suspended service to and from the Queen City after Christmas amid the pandemic and low demand, though they promised service would resume in the spring.
Bogusz says that for now, the carrier will be seen in the skies above Regina only on Saturdays and Tuesdays. They’ll offer direct flights to Vancouver and Toronto.
“As we look into the summer period, Flair, along with Air Canada and WestJet, they’re all taking a lot of new risks in our market. They’re deploying aircraft and adding frequency to existing routes,” he said.
“This is telling me that there’s a lot more optimism, most likely as a result of vaccine rollout improvements and relaxations. We’re seeing a lot of that particularly in the United States.”
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Bogusz said that while air traffic volume is averaging at around 10 per cent of pre-pandemic daily levels in Canada, in the United States that number is around 60 per cent.
“I’m sure Canadian airlines are seeing that and seeing positive markers. Hopefully we’ll start seeing that recover here in the next few months,” he said, adding though that he thinks it may still take up to three years before things return to normal on the tarmac.
“That could change. We know there’s a lot of pent up demand for travel. Once Canadians are told ‘you can go and explore your own country,’ I think that’s going to create a lot of confidence for initial travellers who will tell their friends and family ‘hey, this is safe. You can get back on a plane.’”
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