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Lethbridge Airport seeing more people taking to the skies

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge Airport seeing more people taking to the skies' Lethbridge Airport seeing more people taking to the skies
More and more Canadians are taking to the skies as the country emerges from the pandemic, and local officials say traffic is increasing at the Lethbridge Airport. The facility celebrated new renovations in May, with more work to come. Officials anticipate even more passengers with a new airline beginning service this year. Erik Bay has more – Jul 27, 2022

Air travel is taking off in Lethbridge. That’s according to city officials who say demand is increasing since the Lethbridge Airport celebrated its renovations with a grand opening in May.

“Passenger traffic is continuing to grow and we’re happy to see that,” said Jason Elliott, director of customer, corporate and commercial services with the city of Lethbridge.

Click to play video: 'City celebrates Lethbridge Airport renos as ‘gateway to southern Alberta’' City celebrates Lethbridge Airport renos as ‘gateway to southern Alberta’
City celebrates Lethbridge Airport renos as ‘gateway to southern Alberta’ – May 11, 2022

And more flights will be hitting the tarmac soon.

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WestJet confirmed it will fly in and out of Lethbridge 17 times a week in August — that’s just over 2 flights per day — before expanding to three daily flights beginning Aug. 31.

The company doesn’t provide specific passenger numbers, citing competitive reasons, but says it’s pleased with the demand in Lethbridge.

“In August alone we will fly more than 3,000 guests to and from the region, as more guests return to travel in record numbers following the pandemic,” read a statement from WestJet media relations advisor Madison Kruger.

When it comes to non-commercial flights, the city says those numbers have remained steady over the past couple of years.

Read more: Flair Airlines adding new winter flights to Arizona at 3 Alberta airports

Cross-border traffic to Lethbridge could become easier as the airport works with the Canada Border Services Agency to resume customs service before Flair Airlines begins its direct route to Tucson later this year.

CBSA stopped clearing small international flights to the city in April 2020, citing fewer international travellers and the re-allocation of CBSA resources to enhance health screening.

“We’re working closely with them and hope that we can make an announcement in the coming weeks on some positive news about having CBSA presence back at the Lethbridge Airport,” Elliott said.

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Read more: ‘Much more comfortable experience’: Lethbridge Airport shows off new upgrades

Passengers can also expect more work at the airport soon in preparation for Flair’s arrival on its runways.

“Physical changes to the actual terminal, increased baggage handling space, CBSA space hopefully and a few other changes like that,” Elliott said. “Also operationally, just with more aircraft coming in, more passenger load.”

City officials call those adjustments part of the facility’s evolution.

“There will be some disruption and folks might wonder (how) we did this nice renovation and now there are some additional changes,” Elliot said. “I can assure you this is part of the actual business plan for the airport.”

Flair will begin its 16-week trial at Lethbridge Airport in December.

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