Regina could once again be on the map for a direct flight to the U.S.
Over the last several years, the Queen City has lost three direct routes to America, including Delta service to Minneapolis and United Airlines flights to Chicago and Denver.
James Bogusz, the president and CEO of the Regina Airport Authority (RAA), confirmed he met with representatives for United Airlines in Chicago in February to talk about bringing them back.
“I was able to repackage Regina and explain to them some of the changes since they pulled out of the market,” he said.
Some of those changes include population growth and the announcement of a plant protein supercluster for Saskatchewan, along with other improved economic activity and the impact of the slight bump in the value of the Canadian dollar.
“At least it’s becoming a bit more favourable to the airline, which makes it a little more profitable to serve our market.”
Bogusz said United Airlines seemed to agree the market has changed and the RAA will continue to encourage the airline to offer a direct flight to a U.S. hub, noting Denver is the most likely possibility.
According to reports by Discover Moose Jaw, United Airlines is conducting a survey of Moose Jaw businesses through the local Chamber of Commerce to gauge interest in a flight from Regina to Denver.
Denver is the run the airline offered in Regina and Saskatoon a few years ago, before cancelling it in 2015.
At the time, United cited the weak Canadian dollar, stiff price competition and a robust U.S. economy as the reasons for pulling the flight out of Regina.
Airport to release 2037 master plan
The RAA announced Wednesday a 2037 master plan for the Regina International Airport will be revealed in the coming months.
“We’ve had a lot of population growth here and we need to make sure the terminal building and all of our services keep up with those demands,” Bogusz said.
The federal government requires airports to draft new master plans every 10 years, and the latest plan looks 20 years into the future.
This week the airport authority invited the public to an open house to discuss a close to final draft of 2037 plan.
Bogusz said the plan was drawn up with input from stakeholders with a focus on keeping up with the demand for air travel.
Some of the proposed changes, which could come into play in the next three to seven years, came directly from customer feedback.
“We’re going to look at changing the location of our whole security area on the second floor,” Bogusz said. “We’ve had a lot of comments customers talking about long security lines and during peak hours having long waits.”
Bogusz noted expanding the security area at the airport may encourage government to deploy technology already in use at airports in larger centres across the country.
The plan also includes the potential for adding more restaurant or food service options in the departure terminal for passengers after they pass through security.
—With files from Jessika Guse.