Airport traffic in Lethbridge on the rise

WATCH ABOVE: A decision by WestJet to begin serving the Lethbridge airport appears to be translating into more passenger traffic. Quinn Campbell has the details.

It’s been a few months since Lethbridge Airport added more airline options and Trevor Lewington with Economic Development Lethbridge says more options are leading to more people flying.

“We have seen an increase of almost 105 per cent — so more than double the traffic of July and August of 2018 versus July and August 2017.”

WestJet Link launched at the end of June to compete with Air Canada.

READ MORE: WestJet Link officially takes flight, connecting Lethbridge with major hubs

At the time of the launch, WestJet said fares would drop in just a few months.

“When the dust settles on this service in the next few months, what will be proven out is that we will have lowered airfares between 30 and 50 per cent and we will have stimulated market travel by as much as 90 per cent,” WestJet spokesperson Robert Palmer said in June.

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Lewington said the cost to fly to and from Lethbridge is down.

“We’ve certainly seen fares drop, which is typical when there is more competition,” he said. “We’ve also seen passenger rates and capacity utilization on both airlines stay steady, so even the incumbent that was already in the market — Air Canada — hasn’t seen a drop significantly in their traffic.

“But we certainly have seen fares become more competitive.”

Global News looked at the cost for the last flight out of Lethbridge on Friday evening for WestJet. The flight departs at 9:10 p.m. and cost $336.13.

Air Canada’s latest flight leaving Lethbridge on Friday departs at 7:45 p.m. and comes in at $336.

Lewington said the airlines are doing what they can to keep travellers using the airport and now the city needs to do what it can to keep travellers coming back.

“When we go to an airport, most of us like to be able to have a snack or perhaps use a washroom past the secured area,” he said. “Those are the kinds of things we need to improve the travel experience at the airport, [to] make Lethbridge just an easier, more comfortable place to leave from.”

Lewington also said if Lethbridge Airport sees more travellers, that will equate to upgraded infrastructure.

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