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May 16, 2008 | General

EDMONTON — Sunday, June 1 marks the first anniversary of the consolidation of scheduled passenger services at the International Airport in Edmonton.

In conjunction with the anniversary, Edmonton Airports issued a report card detailing progress toward the objectives in its five-year plan for optimal air service for Edmonton, a plan which was first released to the public in August 1995.

Edmonton Airports will also launch the next phase in the plan to improve air service. The Fly Edmonton First campaign will ensure that Northern Albertans are aware of the non-stop and same-plane services available. The campaign will encourage travellers to support these routes by choosing them instead of flights that involve changing planes in Calgary, Vancouver or Toronto.

“In August 1995, we laid out a five-year marketing plan which would lead us to our vision of optimal air service for the Edmonton market,” said Scott Clements, President and CEO of Edmonton Airports. “While I know that we Edmontonians were hoping that airlines would respond quickly to our new circumstances, this competitive industry needs time to assess how the changed dynamics in Edmonton will alter their long term service strategies.

“One thing in our favour is that Edmonton had a 26% growth in passenger traffic in 1996 beyond consolidation. That has captured the attention of the airlines. We are now the fifth largest airport in Canada, well positioned to continue growing toward optimal air service,” he said.

“One thing airlines tell us loud and clear,” continued Clements, “is that if customers show they want more non-stop and same-plane one-stop flights — by choosing to fly on the ones we already have — that will catch their attention.

“That is especially true for our existing US and European destinations. Flying directly from Edmonton should be our first choice if possible for flying to the US and Europe, rather than being routed via Calgary, Vancouver or Toronto. Connecting through these other Canadian points, when there is a more direct option from Edmonton, tells the airlines that connecting through other cities is acceptable.

“We must actively ask about the best routing, and we must understand that our purchasing decisions have impact,” said Clements.