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Transport Canada removes international status from Regina, Saskatoon airports

Both Saskatchewan major airports in Regina and Saskatoon have lost their international designation, indicated in a Transport Canada document. Brady Ratzlaff / Global News

The Regina and Saskatoon airports have lost their international designation, a recent Transport Canada document indicates.

Transport Canada published Advisory Circular 302-032 “Designation of International Airports in Canada” in late January.

The document is meant “to provide guidance for airports seeking to receive official Canadian designation as “International’, in accordance with all applicable domestic and international requirements,” it read.

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James Bogusz, Regina Airport Authority’s president and CEO, said there isn’t anything to worry about short term, and is unclear of the impact post-coronavirus pandemic.

“Having an international designation is critical when it comes to recovering in the future,” Bogusz said. “In the short term, we don’t have any international flights anyways so there are no immediate impacts here at the airport.”

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Prior to the pandemic, Regina’s airport had flights to Phoenix, Las Vegas and Orlando in the winter.

Bogusz said he believes those flights will remain intact once restrictions are lifted and whether or not the airport has international designation.

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The flights in question are the ones outside the United States.

“The question is, that we asked the federal government, will there be impacts to the other international services? Specifically, the sun destinations…Mexico, Cuba and Caribbean,” Bogusz said.

Andrew Leeming, Saskatoon Airport Authority’s vice-president of operational excellence, said he isn’t pushing the panic button just yet and believes the international designation will be returned to the airport.

“In reviewing the criteria, the Saskatoon Airport Authority does not anticipate any change in the International designation as the main requirements are already met, such as Airport Certification, Security program, Airport Rescue Firefighting, and on site Customs,” Leeming said in an emailed statement to Global News.

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Bogusz said the Regina airport is working on re-establishing international designation and are following a series of requirements set out by the federal government.

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He said it includes getting endorsements from organizations such as the Canada Border Service Agency, Health Canada and the Canada Food Inspection Agency.

“The fact that the province right now has no international designated airports is certainly a concern when it comes to us attracting future airlines or other forms of investment,” Bogusz said.

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In an email sent to Global News, Transport Canada addressed the issue.

“Once the department receives the necessary documentation to this effect, it will be assessed in accordance with AC 302-032,” Transport Canada said.

“Not holding this official designation does not prevent the airport from receiving international flights, nor from using “International” in their corporate name.”

Both airports have until June 30 to submit an application to get back their international designation.

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