Integra Air – Success in Lethbridge
Lethbridge is home to a successful and growing airline, one that was formed in Lethbridge and whose head offices are still there.
Integra Air has been flying people to and from Lethbridge since 1998. President and CEO Brent Gateman said there was a need to provide daily non-stop flights to Edmonton.
“Our primary target,” said Gateman, “was government and business people travelling for one day business trips. They wanted to go up in the morning, do their day of business and then be able to travel back.”
Integra Air began operating with one plane and five employees. It’s grown since then, both in size and the services it provides. The airline now employs 60 people in Lethbridge, Calgary and Medicine had and operates eight aircraft.
“We have King Air 200 aircraft which are twin engine turbo props. They focus on providing charter aircraft out of Lethbridge as well as medivac air service out of Calgary and Medicine Hat,” Gateman said. “We also have Jetstream 31s which provide daily scheduled flights between Lethbridge and Edmonton as well as charter. And the final one which is just coming in in the next month is our new SAAB 340B.”
The SAAB will carry up to 34 passengers which is more than two times what Integra’s largest aircraft currently carry. During the week, it will fly workers to the oilfields in northern Alberta and other places. It will also enable Integra Air to have weekend getaway flights for people.
“The aircraft on the weekend will be able to provide service to and from key locations for weekend getaways. Kelowna, Vancouver, Seattle, Wendover are a few locations that we’re planning out of communities like Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and Cranbrook.”
Integra Air is the only airline that provides same day non-stop flights to and from Edmonton. It also offers charter flights and has provided Medivac Service for southern Alberta since 2010. Gateman said it flies about a thousand medivac flights a year carrying about 1,300 patients. While fixed wing aircraft must use airports and can’t fly to accidents like helicopters can he said fixed wing planes can go farther and fly faster than helicopters.
Integra Air also manages aircraft for businesses that need aircraft but don’t have the experience needed to operate one. “We will crew it, we will maintain it, we’ll hanger it, we’ll fuel it,” he said. “We’ll do everything that’s involved and provide that service.”
Since Integra Air began operating with five people, a small office, desk, phone, fax machine and one plane fifteen years ago, its focus has been on service and safety for its customers and employees. Gateman said Integra Air will continue to provide that as it moves forward in the future.