Scheduled passenger service between Red Deer and Edmonton returns May 14 as Northwestern Air Lease Ltd. starts its new service from Red Deer Airport to Edmonton International Airport and on to Dawson Creek Airport.
“It’s a terrific step forward again and a good strong commitment from Northwestern in terms of serving the community and the broader region in Central Alberta,” Red Deer Airport CEO R.J. Steenstra said Tuesday.
Red Deer Airport has been without scheduled passenger service since Swanberg Air Inc. ceased operations there last September.
“Park here in Red Deer where there are no parking charges for vehicles, get on your aircraft within 10 minutes, get into Edmonton and then get on your aircraft to wherever else you’re going in Canada or beyond,” Steenstra said.
Flights to Dawson Creek will run Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Northwestern Air previously announced it will be starting non-stop flights between Red Deer and Kelowna on Friday and Sunday starting April 20.
Dawson Creek and Kelowna service will be aboard the 19-seater Jetstream 31 or 32 aircrafts.
“The airplanes will be located here. The crew is here in Red Deer. So it’s really forming a southern base for the airline. That’s good news for Red Deer. It provides a launch pad for other routes.”
Gordon Bush, general manager of Northwestern Air, said his company decided to offer the Dawson Creek service due to demand in Dawson Creek to travel to Edmonton and avoiding backtracking to Vancouver.
The Dawson Creek service will also benefit Central Alberta, he said.
“Dawson Creek is one of those booming oil-related communities where a lot of construction is going on and a lot of companies setting up and a lot of people need to go east to connect out of Edmonton to connect to various places,” Bush said.
One-way fare to Dawson Creek, including fees and taxes, is $459.90. One way to just Edmonton is $123.90.
Steenstra said Central Albertans will decide the future of the flights.
“(Red Deer) has been a significant market that has been under-served for a long time. It’s really important that the community find a way to support it because airlines are very quick to move assets to different routes that will be profitable.”
Northwestern Air, which offered passenger service out of the Red Deer Airport from December 2006 until July 2010, currently provides charter service there.