Edmonton International Airport positioning itself as new Northwestern air hub

Increased Northern air traffic, a strong Albertan economy and flexible tranfers to US destinations are all likely to make Edmonton International…

Increased Northern air traffic, a strong Albertan economy and flexible tranfers to US destinations are all likely to make Edmonton International Airport the next major airline hub for Northwestern Canada.

Last week, the airport announced the launch of US Quick Connect, a new program designed to make passenger transfers between Canadian and US destinations easier.

Before, passengers connecting to US destinations through Edmonton were forced to claim their baggage and check in a second time with their airlines before going through US customs.

US Quick Connect circumvents this process, allowing passengers to directly transfer between Canadian and US connector flights — with the transfer of their luggage being managed by the Edmonton airport.

“The way it was before, a family of four would have to go through the arrivals area, wait at the carousel for their bags, go back upstairs, line up and recheck in again,” said airport president and CEO Reg Milley.

“We think you can now connect in about seven minutes, a conservative estimate being that would be that it saves half an hour of transfer time,” said airport spokesperson Tracy Bedmard.

It’s a small change — and a cheap one at only $1 million — but it presents the opportunity for the expanding Edmonton airport to take on more standing airlines and passengers.

Edmonton has quickly risen as the hub of choice for northern passengers en route to destinations in Eastern Canada or the lower 48 states.

Since 2006, Edmonton International Airport has seen a 75 per cent increase in passenger numbers from Alaska and the Canadian North, as well as a 50 per cent overall increase to connecting traffic — a stunning feat in an industry increasingly wracked by higher fuel costs and plummeting passenger numbers.

The Geneva-based International Air Transport Association estimates that the global airline industry stands to incur $2.5 billion in losses in 2009.

“We face the worst revenue environment in 50 years,” said association president Giovanni Bisignani last Wednesday.

In Edmonton, the troubles of global air travel are a distant concern.

“We have a higher growth rate than any other major airport in Canada, and I would dare say, in North America,” said Milley.

Industrial and economic growth have played their part to boost the airport’s numbers, but Milley stresses that it is the airport’s commitment to airline and passenger convenience that has allowed it to pull in traffic that would normally have flown through other western hubs, such as Calgary or Vancouver.

Just recently, Air Canada scheduled an increased number of direct flights between Edmonton and London, England.

The new program means happier airline customers, as well as significant monetary savings — since companies are relieved the hassle of twice having to check in passenger baggage.

With plummeting financial stability, good service is increasingly disappearing within the modern air travel industry.

When the Edmonton Airport went through a comprehensive re-branding last year it broke convention by positioning service as a top priority.

The first step was identifying airlines and passengers as partners, rather than liabilities, said Milley.

Passengers and airlines were actively canvassed for ideas to streamline Edmonton transfer processes.

Border security concerns in the wake of 2001’s September 11th attacks have hugely increased wait times at US customs stations, complained customers — prompting Edmonton airport officials to identify ways to mitigate the growing phenomenon of airport delays.

Milley praises US Quick Connect as one step towards reducing the inevitable stresses of modern air travel.

“Going through an airport is a series of stressful processes, and every time you can eliminate one of those processes it makes the experience all the better,” he said.

Contact Tristin Hopper at

tristinh@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file
Catherine Elliott, Yukon acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, has announced two new COVID-19 cases in the Yukon.
Two new COVID-19 cases confirmed, Porter Creek Secondary prom cancelled

Graduating students are encouraged to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms

Jim Elliot/Yukon News
Ross and Cindy Smith are finding more reason to smile as the floodwaters that almost reached their farm house were beginning to recede on June 8.
Farms on South Klondike Highway experience severe flooding

The nearest body of water is a lake almost three kilometres away

X
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for June 11, 2021.… Continue reading

Whitehorse courthouse interior on April 6, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
CYFN launches pilot program for community impact statements

First Nations will receive support developing statements after major crimes

Israr Ahmed speaks at a vigil at the Whitehorse Mosque to honour the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on June 10. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Yukoners gather to honour Muslim family killed in London

Like many communities across the country, Yukoners came together to honour the Muslim family murdered in London Ontario

The RCMP Critical Incident Program will be training in Watson Lake from June 14-16. Mike Thomas/Yukon News
RCMP will conduct three days of training in Watson Lake

Lakeview Apartment in Watson Lake will be used for RCMP training

John Tonin/Yukon News Squash players duke it out during Yukon Open tournament action at Better Bodies on June 5.
Four division titles earned at squash Yukon Open

The territory’s squash talent was on full display at the 2021 Yukon Open

Runners leave the start line of the 2014 Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay Skagway. The 2021 race will start at checkpoint six and remain in the Yukon only. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News)
Klondike Road Relay returns to in-person after a virtual year

A modified, in-person Klondike Road Relay will be open to Yukoners

John Tonin/Yukon News Rang Pillai speaks at the Great Yukon Summer press conference on May 27.
‘The sooner the better’: Operators react to Great Yukon Summer campaign

The Great Yukon Summer campaign was announced May 27 and begins June 4

Mayor Dan Curtis stands in front of Minister Richard Mostyn and MP Larry Bagnell during an infastructure announcement made outside Jack Hulland Elementary School in Whitehorse on June 2. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Safety improvements planned for Whitehorse school zones

Enhanced pedestrian crosses are planned to make walking to school safer

2020 Haines Junction graduates line up for a photo on May 27, 2020 as part of a celebration parade through the village. While the St. Elias Community School is able to host an outdoor grad ceremony for 2021 grads this year, it will also host a parade and group photo as it did last year. (Marty Samis/Submitted)
Ceremonies and parades all part of 2021 grad

2021 sees old traditions return with some 2020 events adopted

A rendering of the proposed new city hall/services building and transit hub. (City of Whitehorse/submitted)
New city hall could cost $24.7 million

Council will be presented with latest plans June 7

Most Read