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  • Ask Reg - Responses from the Monday thread.

    Reserved for Mr. Milley.

  • #2
    Edmonton Airports info

    ECCA Aviation Tenant Relocation, Sept. 2, 2008

    Global News Edmonton feature:
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3

    Global News Calgary feature
    Last edited by flyeiaPR; 11-03-2009, 03:58 PM.


    • #3
      Ask Reg - Responses from the Monday thread

      My first comment would be to thank you and the administrators for letting me ‘take the stage’ for a few days. I think many of you know that I often check the site. It’s always a good sounding board for me and for our company; we get a ‘real-time’ sense of the data and the myths that are out there, and opinions held. I’ve also had the chance to meet some of you at the Beer and Bull sessions that we informally host, and we’ll have more of those this year because, as always, there’s a lot of interest in air service.

      Red Foxx: When can we expect a flight to Frankfurt or Amsterdam? Is there another destination Edmonton Airports wants first?

      We’re actively pursuing a list of high potential (and highly desired) destinations – ALL destinations (Amsterdam and Frankfurt to name but two) that are mentioned on C2E are on this list. In terms of what our community can do to support European service, the stronger the business case we can make for our current Air Canada (AC) London flight (by exclusively using AC’s LHR flight), the stronger our case is for an airline to invest in an additional European hub.

      JustYeggin: How can YYC (Calgary) attract BA, LH and KL in a span of less than two years while YEG (Edmonton) has failed to attract any significant service? Now, I realize that AC's increased service to YEG is by all means, an improvement, and the MEX thrice weekly service is a start. Service to the US. Yes ... Numbers are huge!! But what are you doing to try and get more mainline service into YEG? Specifically, more service to the East Coast? once again: What are you doing to convince AC that YEG can sustain service. I have a hard time believing that AC would let WJ operate so many flights to LAS and LAX where AC has operated for years. I get the YYC and YVR hubs ... but doesn't the Airport Authority play a role in convincing the airline to increase service, especially the LAX route which is operated by a CRJ 705?

      Tough to do a good job answering this in just a few words. Our communications department has posted the Global ‘behind the scenes’ feature, which I thought outlined the issue of air service pretty well. Interesting that the Global series was also featured on the Calgary Global news broadcast (also posted here)! Watching that may provide some insight into our air service development perspective. Specifically, I’d point out that close to 20 new destinations have been introduced in Edmonton in the last four years, which is a huge air service expansion by any airport’s measure – and they are all building blocks. You’ll also see in the Global piece that EIA has a dedicated air service development team that pitches the Edmonton air service business case to airlines on a daily basis. We are hopeful that Air Canada will add more mainline flying to EIA. However, their ability to expand is limited by the number of aircraft they operate.

      edmontonenthusiast: Edmonton International is one of the fastest growing airports in North America, so I hear. I also think we as a city are trying to turn it into an air hub. I personally always hear about new routes being added to Calgary International, even though Edmonton is/has gotten some new ones, it isn't to the extent as Calgary. Are you and your team doing anything to try to look for new routes in North America and Europe (New York, Boston, Barcelona, Rome would be some good ones to consider) to help push the 'Edmonton name' and get more people coming into our city? Because I think if we get more routes, more people will come to our city from farther off places and boost our tourism.

      EIA invests significant resources pursuing new air services, and we’ve seen some great results (note my comments above). While it’s our job to reinforce our advantages to airlines, we’re also aware of our challenges. For example, the historic split of scheduled air service between our two airports created air service weakness, and therefore too many Edmontonians have historically driven to Calgary to catch flights. In 2006, close to 30% of all air tickets sold in Edmonton were for flights originating in Calgary, providing a very strong business case for airlines to serve Calgary International.

      As a community, we have started to turn this around. With the expansion of the new non-stop services, this number has been cut significantly since 2006 with more people using their own international airport. But there are still close to 750,000 Edmontonians annually who make the road trip to Calgary to catch their flight. This is the equivalent of seven daily wide body flights. Imagine our air service clout if we could get every one of those travellers using Edmonton’s non-stops! Not the only answer; just one more piece.
      Your last point ties to why we work with Edmonton Economic Development Corp. (EEDC), Edmonton Tourism, the City of Edmonton, West Edmonton Mall, Northlands and other community booster to ensure our inbound tourism and air service development efforts are integrated.

      Escondido: I am very thankful that Mexicana Airlines is flying Edmonton. I think that the Mexicana flight scheduling is innovative that it serves both Edmonton and Calgary, on alternating days. Could you tell me if this innovative scheduling approach is working well for both Edmonton and Calgary? If so, are there any plans to work with airlines and with Calgary on this approach for other cities? In my mind it may offer the possibility of bringing better direct international flights to Alberta that neither Edmonton nor Calgary could support independently.

      When searching for flights to Latin America, (for example, San Salvador), the best routing available through Edmonton is through Mexicana. I notice, however, that since Calgary has a flight to Houston with Continental, their flight options (and fare options) are much greater. I believe last year Continental offered Edmonton-Houston service and I'm wondering why it is no longer offered and if you know if that service will be restored in the near future.

      Mexicana was a significant air service milestone for our community this year for a few reasons. Although we have been fortunate to have considerable charter service to Mexico, Mexicana’s service is the first scheduled service from Mexico. In addition to providing a convenient connection to resort and business destinations throughout Mexico and Central and South America, this route caters specifically to business travellers, those visiting friends and relatives in Alberta, and cargo shippers as well. Because it’s a scheduled service rather than charter, bookings can also be made in Mexico, which drives an inbound business and tourism market in addition to the traditional outbound market.

      As you mentioned, ‘sharing’ the aircraft between Edmonton and Calgary has been a great way for Mexicana to minimize their risk as they invest in developing their product in Alberta, and they continue to tell us they are happy with the launch of the service. We also continue to work hard to provide profile for this route. Here’s a couple of examples of Mexicana promos coming up: one is a feature in our annual report – our local station manager is excellent to work with and he arranged for one of Mexicana’s new aircraft to operate into Edmonton so that we could stage an annual report feature and photo shoot (we’ll be sure to send copies of EIA’s annual report to Mexicana route planners!). We’ve also worked with EEDC to give away a trip for two at their annual luncheon coming up in April. And, I’m sure many folks have noticed our Language of Speed campaign and ‘Mexigo’ billboards.

      One final note: the unique situation of having two strong cities for airlines to serve is actually quite rare. It is an air service formula that we keep as an option, though not exclusively with Calgary. For example, we have looked at other opportunities with other Canadian cities for expanded European service. With air service development, there’s rarely one push; often there are a number of options we’re pursuing.

      I’m going to refer you to the answer I provided to Red Foxx for your question on Houston. But, I’ll add that at the time Continental served Houston (they left in February of 2006), they were challenged by operating an aircraft that wasn’t the best fit for the market, and the flight schedules were changed making it less than ideal for business schedules. There has been an ongoing campaign to get them back to EIA ever since.

      dude from edmonton: When can we expect to hear about a hotel opening at the airport? Also, what are your thoughts on LRT or express bus connection to and from downtown Edmonton, and why isn't there such a service yet?

      The hotel … this should be an easy answer because we know how important this amenity is to serving customers, and we know there is demand. The agreement we originally had in place was admittedly frustrating because it was taking a lot of time to execute. Not to fault anyone; it is not simple to construct on-site at an active airport. Regardless, we were unhappy with the timing, and considering the credit crunch, we have moved away from our original agreement and are considering alternatives to get the hotel underway. I wish I had a more concrete answer at this time, other than to say we too know it is ‘a must’ for the evolution of our terminal and for our customers.

      LRT … yes, and fast! We do have a challenge with public transportation to our international airport. We’ve put effort into the pieces that we, as an airport, control; fixed rate taxi fees from the airport, as well as the Sky Shuttle product, and additional parking. None of this takes the place of LRT. To evolve from the O&D airport we were just a few years ago, to aligning our now medium-sized hub airport to our City’s new global position, we need an evolved ground transportation option. I have become more optimistic over the past year through discussions we’ve had with the city to identify alignments on to the property and even the detail of where and how the LRT might be connected to the terminal. I am also sympathetic to the funding issue, and recognize that there are many regional ‘priorities’ for transportation investment that are now being considered by the new regional board. To date, I believe that we have done what we can as an airport; identified the location and requirements of an LRT line into our community’s international airport. I might just throw in a quick acknowledgement here. Minister Ouellette really stepped up for us over the past year by lighting the corridor from the city limits to our airport. That was a significant investment by the province and another building block of the ground transportation system we need for our region and our airport.

      Bus service … we have worked with Leduc County, the City of Leduc and the City of Edmonton to draft what bus service to the International would look like. The challenge is exactly what you already know; multiple jurisdictions, and again, another funding priority for our region to consider. We firmly believe that for the route to be successful, it needs to integrate with the City of Edmonton’s bus service. Mayor Mandel has also been very supportive of this integration. One other miscellaneous point about the bus service: it would be a significant advantage to staffing at the airport. As all of the 60 or 70 companies out here at the airport compete for staff in this marketplace, lack of public transportation has certainly been an added challenge. That is a real concern for us because we clearly understand our role in serving as ‘ambassadors’ for every visitor who arrives in this region through our airport.

      Sonic Death Monkey: Edmonton Airports also manages the region's three general aviation airports: Edmonton City Centre Airport, Villeneuve Airport, and Cooking Lake Airport. In the event that City Centre Airport is closed, are there any plans for expanding one of the other general aviation airports (this would include runways, hangars, etc)?

      I know this isn’t part of the question, but I just have to repeat (because I do whenever this issue comes up!), that the city has not asked for a review of what kind of air services should be offered from the City Centre Airport. This is described through our lease with the city, which directs us to manage the airport as a general aviation airport.

      The city is considering what, if any, redevelopment of those lands they may undertake, and therefore the city asked us to consider a ‘what if’ scenario. Basically, if the city does choose to redevelop those lands, COULD aviation tenants be accommodated at other facilities. The short answer is ‘yes.’ We’ve posted the presentation we provided to council through the September public hearings. In it, is outlined what tenants may relocate to where. Many would have choices, so it is difficult to describe specifically what infrastructure would be required where, but the presentation should provide you with a broad answer.

      Blueline: Given the current state of the economy, does EIA intend to proceed with the full scope of the airport expansion as previously announced? Do you think the EIA has been able to adequately educate and identify to the average Edmontonian and others in the region, how important a financial boost that this series of projects will create in our economy?

      Our community ‘gets it’. What is interesting for me is the opportunity for us to tell our story to an international audience. In 2008, for the third year in a row, EIA led the country in passenger growth (6.1%) and served 6.4 million passengers flying to more than 50 non-stop destinations in Canada, the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. Even though we’ve seen some moderation of domestic growth, we continue to see double-digit growth in U.S. and international flights – which will be a main benefactor of our expansion. We continue to hear from passengers about the lack of space in the U.S. departures area and it’s an issue that will be remedied by the terminal expansion project.

      With the airport already exceeding its design capacity by 20%, and with optimization of the facility reaching its limits, the $1 billion Expansion 2012 project is absolutely critical to EIA’s ongoing development as a world-class airport. I think even more to your point – without this expansion we would risk enabling this region’s development by capping our community’s ability to serve additional flights. Our role is to be an economic enabler, and without the facilities to support air service development, we become a barrier.
      I think what’s compelling is this unique opportunity to do our part to ‘sell Edmonton.’ Unlike the boom time when everyone was doing well, we’ve had renewed interest internationally from publications and businesses asking how and why Edmonton continues to grow and build its airport in these economic times.

      My pitch is that Alberta has the world’s second-largest oil reserves (both conventional oil and oil sands); and with the NWT as the third largest supplier of diamonds, Edmonton is the supplier for the mammoth northern resource development fuelling Canada’s economy. EIA has emerged as the preferred gateway supporting this development activity and will continue to support our business partners and community stakeholders in the North.

      What a chance for us to describe that despite this period of global financial uncertainty, Alberta remains in an enviable position with more than $270 billion of major infrastructure project investment planned for the province over the next decade. About $100 billion has been delayed to the next year or two, leaving $170 billion still being actively invested; an average of $17 billion a year – significant investment for many countries, let alone one province.

      Did I answer the question? A bit lengthy maybe, but I couldn’t resist!

      Jasper: Is there something concrete in terms of seeing something happen in the near future specific to Port Alberta?

      It’s tough for me to answer this question directly without backing up a bit. Port Alberta is a long-term diversification strategy for our entire region. Port Alberta is the concept that starts at the airport, but that actually optimizes our country’s investment in transportation infrastructure to support global trade. Edmonton and our airport have natural advantages, including global proximity, proximity to western ports, and enough airport land to facilitate intermodal components. Although you can move rail and roads; much tougher to move runways, so the airport is a natural choice for Port Alberta.

      (A quick aside to rail here, because there’s been a lot of discussion. We need proximity to rail; Port Alberta is not dependent on on-airport-property rail.)

      To your point about concrete progress: our community has collectively defined and stood behind the Port Alberta vision in an incredibly short period of time. Federal and provincial funding to enable studies to identify companies and linkages has been achieved. The airport, with some of our political supporters, continues to lobby for policy changes, such as Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ). It’s worth noting that the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, one of our partners on Port Alberta (along with EEDC), successfully introduced an FTZ policy at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting last year. And we also continue to work with potential investors, which would kick-start the project into high gear.

      This is a bit of a tough one publicly because on one hand, because it just makes sense, our community has embraced Port Alberta. On the other, because it is so public, there’s a natural urgency to ‘show some proof’ early on progress for a very significant game changer.

      (For those of you who haven’t seen your questions answered as yet, I am still working on responses. Thanks!)
      Last edited by Mr. Reg Milley; 10-03-2009, 11:29 AM.


      • #4

        The links flyeiapr posted are all working now.