It was touchdown at 8:30 a.m. at the Canadian Rockies International Airport (CRIA) on Monday morning as Integra Air arrived as part of its inaugural flight from Calgary.
Announced last month, Integra Air will begin with two daily return flights from CRIA to Calgary on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and single return flights on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Arriving on the Jetstream 3100 aircraft was Brent Taylor, the business development manager for Integra Air, while six passengers and a toddler were the first to try out the new service.
“We’re really excited, sometimes you don’t realize until you get going,” said Taylor. “Now that we’re here, it’s kind of like Christmas morning, we’re finally here, so we know that it’s going to take a little bit to get it going.
“…We’ll probably have our little highs and lows, but we’re excited and looking forward to serving the community and connecting to Calgary and bringing the Calgary folks here.”
The 35-minute Integra Air flights are direct to and from Calgary, complementing existing carriers at CRIA in Air Canada—which also provides flights to Calgary—and Pacific Coastal Airlines, which operates strictly in B.C.
Tristan Chernove, the manager of the CRIA, noted that growth over the last six years of his tenure has attracted attention from other air carriers.
“We’ve had significant growth every year, year over year and that’s really the factor that allows us to be successful in attracting new carriers,” Chernove said.
“When I arrived here in 2009, we were just shy of 100,000 passengers and now we’re nearing 140,000 passengers, so that’s really sustained growth over that period.
“When carriers see that, it gives them good confidence that it’s a place that’s got a growing market, growing tourism activity and it’s a big part of why we’re having success.”
Chernove adds that it’s exciting to have a new carrier operating at CRIA.
“We’ve got a great approach, we’ve got an incredible landing system, great reliability and plenty of capacity. The only constraint we have to much more growth in air services is demographics and population density,” he said.
“So this is really exciting to have an airline that is suitable for a smaller market as compared to what a lot of the airlines fly with, which is really large planes that are difficult to fill with our limited population.”
By Trevor CrawleyCranbrook Daily Townsman