Over 1.2 million people passed through the Regina International Airport in 2018.
Now, CEO James Bogusz thinks it’s time to stage a comeback.
“Passenger growth being up over 1.5 per cent is a great place to be, given that in 2017, we came off a pretty challenging year,” Bogusz said.
United and Delta Airlines cancelled direct routes to Chicago, Denver, and Minneapolis over the space of two years.
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But the city’s reputation as an event host, paired with growing population and increased economic stability has put a regular direct flight to the United States back on the table.
Bogusz is currently in talks with United Airlines to bring a direct Denver, Colorado flight back to the Queen City.
“Let’s assume the same aircraft that used to fly here, which is a 50 seat regional jet, that would add over $15 million a year to local economy. It’s massive,” he explained. “That would be for double daily service flying between Regina and Denver at 100 seats a day.”
The airport contributes well over $800 million into the local economy annually.
Adding an American route will be the top priority for Bogusz at Monday’s Routes North America conference in Quebec City.
In a round of what is essentially airport speed dating, YQR will hold 20 minute meetings with eight different airlines to try to sell them on Regina.
Four of the airlines in talks with the group offer service to the United States, with United and Delta emerging as the most likely prospects.
From handshake to takeoff, it would take about nine months to have a new route up and running.
At the same time, more changes are on the way for the airport itself.
“We have to offer our customers far more choice past security when it comes to food service and concessions,” Bogusz said.
Renovations will be needed on the second floor to allow for more food choices. Outside, ground transportation spaces could shift with ride sharing set to kick off in march- a solid start to a new era at YQR.
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