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Old 10-04-2012, 06:14 PM   #1
Thomas Hinderks
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Default Alberta Government Air Service, good or bad deal?

From the Provincial Election thread

Alberta government air service.

What's it used for?
What's it cost?
What are the alternatives?

Good or bad deal?

Your thoughts
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:27 PM   #2
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Any further details about what it is?
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:38 AM   #3
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Basically, our provincial government owns a Dash 8-100, a Super King Air 350, and two Super King Air 200's, all based at YXD. Their primary function is transportation of Alberta government officials throughout Western Canada and the U.S.

The flight logs for all four are available to the public, including who was on the aircraft, where it went, and the purpose of the trip.

The discussion on the other thread was about whether or not this is a valuable use of resources, or if this service could be contracted out to an airline or charter company, as is presently done with air ambulance services.

I guess for me, it depends on how may hours per year the planes actually fly. I don't know that number.

Last edited by Adam; 11-04-2012 at 12:46 AM..
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:30 AM   #4
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^ I work for the province, and the service is available to all employees on government business, not just officials or cabinet. From my understanding, it is well used, but I'm not sure exactly to what extent.

Perhaps with the closing of the CCA, other options can be explored.
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:20 AM   #5
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^ I work for the province, and the service is available to all employees on government business, not just officials or cabinet. From my understanding, it is well used, but I'm not sure exactly to what extent.

Perhaps with the closing of the CCA, other options can be explored.
such as - perhaps - maintaining lrt funding to extend it to edmonton international so you could quickly and easily get from grandin? they don't need to use the main terminal/scheduled security. it would certainly be a lot less money and a lot more efficient than buying city city airport for half a billion dollars and keeping them there.
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:39 AM   #6
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such as - perhaps - maintaining lrt funding to extend it to edmonton international so you could quickly and easily get from grandin?
Or to support the development of sprawl neighborhoods / big payday for land speculators between Leduc and Edmonton? As everyone knows, one day HSR will connect the airports to the downtown. Existing neighborhoods need LRT first.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azzey View Post
^ I work for the province, and the service is available to all employees on government business, not just officials or cabinet. From my understanding, it is well used, but I'm not sure exactly to what extent.

Perhaps with the closing of the CCA, other options can be explored.
such as - perhaps - maintaining lrt funding to extend it to edmonton international so you could quickly and easily get from grandin? they don't need to use the main terminal/scheduled security. it would certainly be a lot less money and a lot more efficient than buying city city airport for half a billion dollars and keeping them there.
The Provincial Air Service will be moving, but as I understand it, it is not confirmed to where.

If possible can we keep the discussion to the air service and not the airport, they are two different issues.

Tom
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
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such as - perhaps - maintaining lrt funding to extend it to edmonton international so you could quickly and easily get from grandin?
Or to support the development of sprawl neighborhoods / big payday for land speculators between Leduc and Edmonton? As everyone knows, one day HSR will connect the airports to the downtown. Existing neighborhoods need LRT first.
really? maybe you could pay some attention to the employment base already in that corridor and recognize that housing opportunities in that corridor are probably the antithesis and not an example of urban sprawl if you are trying to promote living and working in the same area.

http://internationalregion.com/media...eb_quality.pdf

there's probably 10,000 people working in nisku alone for employers who probably employ another 20,000 people in the field. and those numbers don't include leduc business park or the airport or those working in any of edmonton's south east industrial areas or for many of the agri-businesses south of town or for the service and support business located in all of those areas as well. as everyone knows, hsr won't support that even if it does arrive in less than half a century from now. neighborhoods include the workplace as well as the residential roof-tops and we still need to do a lot of catchup to support what is already there. it's a lot more complex than simple mindedly attributing things to "the development of sprawl neighborhoods / big payday for land speculators between Leduc and Edmonton". if there is no demand, all of those land speculators do as well as all of those bre-x "investors". land speculation and land development are not the same thing.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:25 AM   #9
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there's probably 10,000 people working in nisku alone for employers who probably employ another 20,000 people in the field.
You really think somebody is going to LRT to a station then walk through fields past industrial sites to their workplace, rather than hopping in the F150? Good luck with that. You know as well as I do, this is all about promoting new neighborhoods between Edmonton and Leduc, on land that should be used for farming or industry.

Regardless, off topic. Alberta's airforce is surprisngly small, I think it should be upgraded to at least match what a number of Alberta head office companies have.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:28 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Thomas Hinderks View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by azzey View Post
^ I work for the province, and the service is available to all employees on government business, not just officials or cabinet. From my understanding, it is well used, but I'm not sure exactly to what extent.

Perhaps with the closing of the CCA, other options can be explored.
such as - perhaps - maintaining lrt funding to extend it to edmonton international so you could quickly and easily get from grandin? they don't need to use the main terminal/scheduled security. it would certainly be a lot less money and a lot more efficient than buying city city airport for half a billion dollars and keeping them there.
The Provincial Air Service will be moving, but as I understand it, it is not confirmed to where.

If possible can we keep the discussion to the air service and not the airport, they are two different issues.

Tom
tom,

i wasn't trying to make it an "airport issue" but i'm not sure you can isolate the issues entirely. air service does need to be accessible as well as simply available for it to really provide service. whether that happens at eia or villenueve or josephsburg or some combination thereof is not as material as ensuring that it does happen.

ken
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:34 AM   #11
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there's probably 10,000 people working in nisku alone for employers who probably employ another 20,000 people in the field.
You really think somebody is going to LRT to a station then walk through fields past industrial sites to their workplace, rather than hopping in the F150? Good luck with that. You know as well as I do, this is all about promoting new neighborhoods between Edmonton and Leduc, on land that should be used for farming or industry.

Regardless, off topic. Alberta's airforce is surprisngly small, I think it should be upgraded to at least match what a number of Alberta head office companies have.
you're oversimplifying again... what you imply may apply to a large degree to the 20,000 working in the field. it probably doesn't apply to that degree for those 10,000 not in the field. and lrt won't service every industrial site but it certainly could provide a good option in conjunction with local feeder networks for buses just as it does everywhere else in the overall network. what you imply also doesn't apply to the rest of the household in regard to commuting to jobs elsewhere - including downtown - or attending the u of a or macewen or nait etc.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:39 AM   #12
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you're oversimplifying again... .
OK provide an example of an industrial neighborhood in Canada, where workers on mass LRT to nearby stations and take buses to the workplace. It just won't happen in Nisku, welders and other blue collar union members carrying their tools just aren't going to stuff around on mass for this in Edmonton. If you don't believe me, try visiting a business or two in Nisku and talking to the staff instead of making up crap as an excuse to supply transit to an un-needed future neighborhood when existing neighborhoods aren't served. And, for all the billions this would cost, we haven't even tried a direct to downtown express bus for the airport (which will be faster than LRT would point to point).

Last edited by moahunter; 11-04-2012 at 11:42 AM..
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:45 AM   #13
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ken
Quote:
whether that happens at eia or villenueve or josephsburg or some combination thereof is not as material as ensuring that it does happen.
Well we agree on that, but I'll believe it when I see it.

On to more relevant:

As I understand it the Air Service is used for:
- Judiciary for proceedings
- Transport of Lawyers for proceeding and consultations (legal aid and other)
- Transport of a broad range of government staff from many departments
- Transport of engineers and consultants inspecting, reviewing, working on various projects
- Emergency transport for environmental problems (like the pipe liine spill kast year and Slave Lake's disaster.

and movement of MLAs and Cabinet ministers.

Generally most of the flights are done to areas with no regular commercial air service.

Some have suggested chartering...well if you charter a King Air it's gonna cost the same $3900 per hour to operate (assuming same level of maint etc) plus mark ups...I'm gonna guess the equivalent of $5000 to $5500 per hour.

Does anyone have more or better information?
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:18 PM   #14
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^ good information. I rarely believe the answer is black and white as in; 'there's no way the government should have its own planes'. Ownership sometimes gives you very important control over an asset and contracting out can really work against you in times of critical need.

I might just be me but some this discussion sure makes it look like Edmontonians see themselves as the centre of the universe rather than here to serve all of Alberta when it comes to government services.
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:33 PM   #15
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Looks like they are moving to YEG and will operate from there own facility that currently has just begun the main structure. There are also two other new hangers/fbos near completion including one very boldly plastered with "stars" logos!
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Old 11-04-2012, 02:19 PM   #16
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Looks like they are moving to YEG and will operate from there own facility that currently has just begun the main structure. There are also two other new hangers/fbos near completion including one very boldly plastered with "stars" logos!
Know a couple of the guys that work there...they tell me no decision has been made.

Guess we will wait and see.

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Old 11-04-2012, 03:59 PM   #17
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Whe spent Half a mill last hear dead heading the gov't fleet between Edm and Calgary... There is no need for this service. Commercial carriers would work just fine.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:05 PM   #18
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The rumor I've heard is that executive flight centre who currently handles any AB govt flights passing through YEG (they do occasionally) has offered hanger space in one of the companies 3 existing hangers. That's to be decided although I've heard a strong amount of talk that someone else has also made a offer and the building is already being built. As for stars the facility is near completion and the stars logos are up as seen when travelling down the QE2 so that's a pretty strong confirmation in that matter.
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:41 PM   #19
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you're oversimplifying again... .
OK provide an example of an industrial neighborhood in Canada, where workers on mass LRT to nearby stations and take buses to the workplace. It just won't happen in Nisku, welders and other blue collar union members carrying their tools just aren't going to stuff around on mass for this in Edmonton. If you don't believe me, try visiting a business or two in Nisku and talking to the staff instead of making up crap as an excuse to supply transit to an un-needed future neighborhood when existing neighborhoods aren't served. And, for all the billions this would cost, we haven't even tried a direct to downtown express bus for the airport (which will be faster than LRT would point to point).
you don't have to search all over canada. other than the lrt leg which would make them more convenient and not less, the bus stops are certainly there throughout se and nw edmonton's industrial areas. maybe you should get ets to cancel them all? or maybe those commuters aren't hauling their tools back and forth on the bus - they go to work, use their welders and tools and then go home. just like you. and then there's the accountants and the engineers and the office staff who never even go near the welders and tools... as noted in the earlier posts, of the 30,000 employed by nisku businesses alone, 10,000 are never in the field.



sorry about the off-topic posts in a thread you started to keep on topic tom...
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:54 PM   #20
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Whe spent Half a mill last hear dead heading the gov't fleet between Edm and Calgary... There is no need for this service. Commercial carriers would work just fine.
I'm not sure I understand. Are you suggesting they use Westjet/Jazz or are you suggesting we should outsource air transportation services to a 703/704 operator?
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:09 PM   #21
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Whe spent Half a mill last hear dead heading the gov't fleet between Edm and Calgary... There is no need for this service. Commercial carriers would work just fine.
Using (1) piece of information for the air service budget is extremely misleading at best.

What about the places commercial carriers don't go?

Should they just be ignored?

or should we pay more to get the same service and access?

As I commented in an earlier post...
Quote:
Some have suggested chartering...well if you charter a King Air it's gonna cost the same $3900 per hour to operate (assuming same level of maint etc) plus mark ups...I'm gonna guess the equivalent of $5000 to $5500 per hour.
because with a charter that has to dead head back you are still paying both ways.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:20 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Whe spent Half a mill last hear dead heading the gov't fleet between Edm and Calgary... There is no need for this service. Commercial carriers would work just fine.
Using (1) piece of information for the air service budget is extremely misleading at best.

What about the places commercial carriers don't go?

Should they just be ignored?

or should we pay more to get the same service and access?

As I commented in an earlier post...
Quote:
Some have suggested chartering...well if you charter a King Air it's gonna cost the same $3900 per hour to operate (assuming same level of maint etc) plus mark ups...I'm gonna guess the equivalent of $5000 to $5500 per hour.
because with a charter that has to dead head back you are still paying both ways.
quite being so damn logical - you take all the fun out of ranting about fleets of private planes being available at our expense to serve the whim and fancy of an elite few...
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:14 AM   #23
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^ The challenge with contracting out in the past is that too many of the flights were going to locations where the operator wouldn't have any other business. High Level, Edson, Cold Lake, Slave Lake, the odd Lethbridge/Medicine Hat flight...if the choice is chartering a deadhead, or flying your own deadhead, then the cost effective choice is fairly clear. Today, more flights are going to major centres, and smaller centres are generating more business for charter operators. No point flying to Edson if the base is at Nisku - the gov't twinned 16 for a reason. Changes the math. Enough for an all-charter service?

A split service - commercial and charter to major centres; a smaller fleet for smaller centres - might be possible, but how much smaller can you get than our current fleet without spending too much in overhead? Perhaps a more realistic solution is outsourcing maintenance? Maybe even contract pilots? (Nah, need to guarantee availability of pilot flight hours if you own a plane, right?)

What we don't see in the flight logs is how many requests were rejected due to a lack of available planes/scheduling. If a contractor can provide additional planes for peak demand - presumably at a similar price to their base service - then perhaps you have a business case. I wonder if someone could find a report on the number of chartered flights purchased by GoA in 2009, the price, and compare it to what a major contract might provide for a discounted price. Even then, it's tough to judge the unbooked demand for flights. All we know is that the fleet doesn't appear highly utilized, especially the Dash-8. Under utilized? I couldn't guess.

But people's time could be better spent examining the use of the fleet by the Lieutenant Governor (and spouse), and to encourage the use of a charter by regularly scheduled groups when flying to/from Calgary during periods of high demand. Locking up a Dash-8 every week for the Treasury Board is a good idea compared to flying WestJet - an even better idea is using a charter and taxing their profits. I'm guessing the semi-weekly meetings have a fairly fixed schedule.... And I suspect you could save more money examining the March 6 flights from Springbank-Calgary Int'l-City Centre for the L.G. than you could outsourcing the fleet. And you'd save all the money you'd ever want just by eliminating on-site news conferences....
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:38 AM   #24
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I am sure there may be ways to tighten up, there always is, but contracting is very often ineffective and doesn't always deliver the results needed.

A good example is the current Ontario air ambulance disaster with Ornge.

Rather than maintain a government department for air ambulance as they had in the past the Ontario government contracted to a specially set up not for profit, Ornge.

That has turned into a scandal of inefficiency, failures and a frightening high dollar money trail with air ambulance service actually getting worse.

So bad it threatens to bring down the government.

As with many things a full picture is needed to make a sound decision.
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Old 14-04-2012, 04:26 AM   #25
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Basically, our provincial government owns a Dash 8-100, a Super King Air 350, and two Super King Air 200's, all based at YXD. Their primary function is transportation of Alberta government officials throughout Western Canada and the U.S.

The flight logs for all four are available to the public, including who was on the aircraft, where it went, and the purpose of the trip.

The discussion on the other thread was about whether or not this is a valuable use of resources, or if this service could be contracted out to an airline or charter company, as is presently done with air ambulance services.

I guess for me, it depends on how may hours per year the planes actually fly. I don't know that number.
You contradict yourself......"flight logs are available to the public......BUT you do not know that number".........hummmm, WHAT do you know about this subject...really?
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Old 14-04-2012, 10:15 AM   #26
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You contradict yourself......"flight logs are available to the public......BUT you do not know that number".........hummmm, WHAT do you know about this subject...really?
I can go down to the legislature library and find out if I was so inclined. Anyone can.
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