The Canadian Rockies International Airport (YXC) is in the running to receive service from Westjet.
The Calgary based company is launching a regional airline called Encore that is expected to begin flying in the last half of 2013. Small and mid-sized communities across Canada have been lobbying to convince Westjet to include them in the new service.
The Kimberley Chamber of Commerce has sent a request to all of the Chambers in the Columbia Valley, including Fernie, Sparwood, and Elkford, to urge residents who rely on YXC to show their support. Tristen Chernove, Managing Director of YXC, has also received several letters from residents all over the East Kootenays explaining why Westjet service at YXC would mean for the communities and businesses in the area.
“All of those messages are very helpful and powerful tools to share when I meet with Westjet,” said Chernove. “They certainly appreciate seeing all of the encouragement from the public.”
Chernove has met with Westjet several times over the past year to discuss the possibility of service to YXC. “It looks to me like Westjet remains on target to make some of the decisions by the early part of next year. When last I spoke with them they were still deciding,” he commented. “They did indicate that within the first year of Encore they would receive up to as many as six Bombardier aircrafts, so we expect that as those are delivered we’ll see it expand.”
Members of the public can help convince Westjet they need their service in three ways: by emailing them at www.westjet.com/guest/en/contact/index.shtml, posting comments on the Westjet Facebook page, or signing up for Westjet rewards to show in concrete numbers the amount of people in the East Kootenays who want Westjet service.
Chernove stated, “I think the most important thing is that as a whole, the residents of the East Kootenay region show their unanimous support and continue to work together to attract the service.”
Westjet Encore will likely launch with just a few destinations and then begin to expand coast-to-coast. Westjet said the regional airline has the potential to create 1,800 jobs across the country.