File photo by ADVOCATE staff Representatives from Enerjet and numerous “airport partners” are expected to join Red Deer Airport board chairman Ben Antifaiff at the AGM at 3 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel.

Red Deer Airport’s future prospects to be discussed at AGM

‘Airport partners,’ such as Enerjet, expected to attend

Central Albertans could learn more about whether passenger service will soon take flight at Red Deer Airport at its annual general meeting Thursday.

Representatives from Enerjet and numerous “airport partners” are expected to join Red Deer Airport board chairman Ben Antifaiff at the AGM at 3 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel.

Nicole Holinaty, the airport’s communications and marketing director, said updates on “airport advancements” and other projects will be discussed.

Following a brief presentation, Antifaiff will be joined by airport partners, including Enerjet, and members of the executive team, to answer questions about the airport’s future, said Holinaty.

Many central Albertans have been wondering about the reinstatement of passenger air service at the airport since Air Canada ended its flights to Edmonton and Calgary last fall.

Last December, Enerjet investor Tim Morgan confirmed Red Deer is on his radar as a potential market for his ultra-low-cost carrier service.

He cited our central location and availability of airport parking as enticements, but stressed that more airport upgrades will be needed — including an expansion of the passenger area of the terminal.

Enerjet spokesman Dean McKenzie said Tuesday the situation hasn’t progressed much. His company is still considering flying out of Red Deer, but needs airport improvements before making a decision.

Enerjet is still considering the kind of planes it would use, and weighing various landing strip requirements, added McKenzie, who commended Red Deer Airport representatives for making a strong case and being “proactive.”

Airport CEO Graham Ingham is away on an unexpected family matter and won’t be at the AGM. But he previously stated he was confident passenger service would soon be available.

A “modest” apron and terminal expansion were being planned, and he was hoping to get the projects underway this spring.

The airport has many fixed costs, despite revenues being down from the loss of oilfield-related air traffic and the suspension of service by Air Canada, Graham stated. Among them was the hiring of a new safety and security manager.

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