19-Seat Aircraft Restricted at Edmonton City Centre Airport
Edmonton – In 1995, 77% of Edmontonians voted to consolidate scheduled services at the International Airport. The Passenger Access Policy at City Centre Airport was established by Edmonton Airports to prevent major scheduled carrier operations from returning to the Edmonton City Centre Airport, stating that scheduled passenger services would be capped at 10 seats/passengers. Since implementing the Passenger Access Policy, traffic at the Edmonton International Airport has increased from 1.6 million passengers in 1995 to 3.9+ million passengers in 2001. Edmonton International Airport was the only international airport in Canada to post passenger growth in 2001.
In 1999, small carriers at Edmonton City Centre Airport requested Edmonton Airports modify the 10 Passenger Access Policy, allowing aircraft seating more than 10 passengers to be operated on scheduled services. The operators contended that they would not serve more than 10 passengers, but instead required flexibility in choosing aircraft, and did not want the City Centre Airport restriction to eliminate opportunities in other markets in which they operated. The operators suggested that they could be profitable even without filling the open seats with passengers, through alternatives such as taking on additional cargo.
Edmonton Airports agreed to modify the policy to allow 19-seat aircraft to be utilized at the City Centre Airport, while clearly maintaining the original restriction that no more than 10 passengers be carried to or from the airport on any given flight. Scheduled air carriers signed an operating license agreeing to comply with this policy.
Unfortunately, for the past two years since the modification of the policy, some carriers have intermittently operated in non-compliance with the policy. This has caused concerns with small 10-seat aircraft operators at City Centre and the major carriers serving Edmonton. These carriers indicate that services from City Centre Airport dilute traffic on the Edmonton — Calgary corridor and on northern services, threatening mainline service to these communities.
Clearly, the 19-seat aircraft are increasingly in the mainstream of scheduled passenger service. Therefore, Edmonton Airports is announcing today that effective January 1, 2004, 19-seat aircraft providing scheduled service will be invited to move their operations to the International Airport. At that time they will not be licensed for operations at Edmonton City Centre Airport. The one-year notice will provide sufficient time to transition the business to Edmonton International Airport. Edmonton Airports will work closely with the carriers involved to facilitate the transition.
19-seat aircraft are an important component of optimal air service for our region. 19-seat aircraft currently offer efficient services to a number of regional markets from Edmonton International Airport. In this year alone, Central Mountain Air offered non-stop 19-seat service to three new destinations: Prince George, Fort St. John and Lethbridge. In addition, a new carrier to our community, Swanberg Air, has introduced non-stop service between Edmonton International Airport and Grande Prairie on the 19-passenger aircraft.
Edmonton Airports will continue to support 19-passenger services from Edmonton International Airport. Through the new Commuter Concourse, part of the Phase 3 Air Terminal Redevelopment Project opening in late 2003, new facilities will offer more efficient service to tier three carriers and their passengers. 60% of regional traffic connects through Edmonton on to a final destination.
Consistent with the referendum direction, Edmonton Airports will continue to focus all major commercial scheduled passenger activity at Edmonton International Airport. Edmonton Airports will also encourage current dedicated cargo operations at ECCA to be relocated to the International Airport.
Edmonton Airports is a not-for-profit organization mandated to manage the region’s airport assets on behalf of and in the best interest of the Capital Region.