The Red Deer Airport is looking to bring ultra-low cost carriers to Central Alberta.
The future of the airport was discussed at the annual general meeting Thursday at the Holiday Inn in Gasoline Alley.
Graham Ingham, Red Deer Airport chief executive officer, said they are looking to offer ultra-low cost carrier flights at the airport by 2020.
The airport has had discussions with two airlines – FlyToo and Jetlines – about bringing flight services to Red Deer.
“I’m pretty optimistic that we’ll get one, maybe two. Their whole business model is dependent on low-cost secondary airports like Red Deer’s,” said Ingham.
Ingham said having these airlines would be an incredible opportunity for the area.
“It really is giving Central Alberta more choice, opportunity and is putting it on the map from an air service perspective.
“When you attract air service, you start to attract other businesses, so from an economic perspective it would definitely be beneficial for the region,” he said.
Adding the new airlines would draw more people to the airport, Ingham said.
“We’re very fortunate to have Air Canada operating three times a day to Calgary, but we’ve never had the big shiny jets coming and going,” he said.
Red Deer County will build a road linking Township Road 374 to Highway 2A. Ingham said that road is going to open a lot of opportunities for the airport.
“From a business perspective, we’re looking at large-scale commercial development; things like maintenance repair and overhaul facilities as well as industrial, transportation and warehouse-type businesses.
“This is a really exciting project because it gives the communities a lot more than it gives the airport itself,” he said.
Ingham said the land development project, which is a collaborative effort between the county, city, airport and provincial government, could bring businesses from across the globe.
“That could bring well over 1,000 jobs and a lot of opportunities to grow Red Deer and Central Alberta,” he said.
Ingham said having this land development and potential new air services is “like winning the lottery.”