Growth in Regina’s population is a big factor in attracting major American airlines according to the airports newly minted President and CEO.
James Bogusz spoke to members of the board along with partners at the annual general meeting for the Regina Airport Authority (RAA) Wednesday.
“United airlines is really the target airline right now and the current pitch for the business case we’ve put forward is to have them re-look at Denver,” Bogusz said. “Denver is a massive hub for that airline … So with the increases in population, the better economic conditions that we’re seeing now than let’s say in the last couple of years and the fact that they have no competitor currently in this airport flying to a U.S. Hub — it’s a very compelling business case.”
However, he added airlines are slow moving when it comes to big decisions like expanding their services. Bogusz said that doesn’t mean RAA will stop trying to attract major American airlines as he knows many in the Queen City want the service back.
“What I can assure is that we’re not going to stop — if United doesn’t want to operate an aircraft now, we’re going to stay on top of them but we’re also going to be approaching other American airlines as well,” he said. “We just see (United) as a best chance and most likely one to provide service to our community.”
A focus on reducing fees for travellers was also mentioned during the AGM. Bogusz said they’re in talks with the city to get commercial properties built around the airport.
“It’s not about just the businesses themselves, but it’s about keeping our fees and charges low for the travelling community that we use that land rent for, to offset the cost of operating an airport.”
With the growth of aviation, Bogusz said they would hope to see businesses from the aviation sector set up a hangar perhaps or a fixed base operator — someone who services airlines that come through Regina — set up shop. He said as for the commercial side of businesses, they’re in a great location and conveniently located near Lewvan Drive — so it’s just a matter of finding “what niche demands they can find” based on what other areas of Regina perhaps don’t have.
He added it’ll still be a bit of a process before someone would see buildings go up near the airport. Bogusz said they remain in talks with the City to make sure RAA gets input from administration so that their development plans align with what the cities are as “they’re all one partnership.”