April 27, 2018 7:26 am

Iveson to pitch Asia air travel on China trip


Mayor Don Iveson thinks partnering with Calgary on air access to Asia makes a whole lot more sense than trying to compete with our southern neighbour. And what’s worked in Europe could be copied when Iveson travels to China May 9 to 19.

He’s seen the results with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

READ MORE: Alberta turns to Asia; hopes to boost tourism $10.3B

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“It gives daily Alberta access,” Iveson said ahead of the formal announcement of the airport accord with Leduc, Leduc County, and the airports authority.

“With four days a week to Calgary and three days a week to Edmonton, I think that that’s a model that could work for access to Asia.

“Either of us, Calgary or Edmonton, couldn’t sustain [service] at our current size daily [travel] to particular parts of Asia. But if we could between the two of us sustain that, I think that’s a model that works very well with KLM.

“We’re strategically positioned to be an air cargo hub for western North America, so we’ll be looking to expand and build upon on some of the things that have already happened around cargo. And then we’ll be having some passenger discussions as well.”

READ MORE: More passengers, more development cap banner 2017 at Edmonton International Airport

Iveson said aviation will not be the sole focus.

“There’ll be lots of other things around food and petro-chemicals, investment, technology and AI, e-commerce, lots of different things on the agenda but aviation will be a big focus,” he said.

In 2017, Edmonton International Airport’s economic impact was valued at $3.2 billion, and that number continues to grow as the airport develops new passenger and cargo air service, according to figures released by the airport authority to mark the signing of the Airport Accord.

READ MORE: Alberta Trade minister hails Asia mission a success

“We’re pleased to have resources from the province to help fund the collaboration work that we’ve committed to doing together,” Iveson said.

The mayor’s trip will coincide with one by Economic Development Minister Deron Bilous, where the two will cross paths in China. The two will also be in San Francisco for meetings, on the inaugural direct flight to California.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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