As staff and volunteers prepare to welcome thousands of guests to the Lethbridge International Airshow this weekend, the City of Lethbridge is moving forward with new growth and development at the Lethbridge Airport. Some of these changes include additional flights, preparing for new routes and the September 1 reinstatement of paid parking.
As of August 1, WestJet will add an additional flight to Calgary bringing the total to three flights per day which is anticipated to bring their passenger traffic back up near pre-pandemic levels.
Important steps are also being taken to prepare for the recently announced Flair Airlines route to Tucson, Arizona. Flair, an ultralow cost carrier, has partnered with the Lethbridge Airport to trial a weekly Tucson/Lethbridge route for 16 weeks starting in December of this year.
"We are incredibly lucky to have partners like WestJet and Flair who are also committed to growing airport operations at YQL," says Jason Elliott, City of Lethbridge Director of Customer, Corporate and Commercial Services. "Adding the Flair flight does mean some additional changes need to be made within some very tight timelines. We have staff and contractors working quickly to modify capacity and security requirements to accommodate the number of passengers anticipated."
One of the important requirements being worked on is securing Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) approval. Having border services (customs) at YQL will be required for travel to the United States. Lethbridge is just one of several Canadian cities awaiting CBSA approval as they move forward with new Flair routes.
"There are several steps required at the airport to prepare us for the Flair flights in December and the CBSA approval is one of those milestones," says Elliott. "We are seeing progress in that process and are optimistic that we can have this confirmed in the next few weeks."
Other required enhancements at the terminal include:
- Increased pre-boarding holding room seating capacity
- International security accommodations
- Checked baggage drop off and screening area enhancements
The airport terminal recently underwent a significant modernization project, made possible through Federal and Provincial grant funding.
"We know the timing isn't ideal, having just completed a major renovation at the terminal but these changes really are the next step in the evolution of the Lethbridge Airport," says Elliott.
Those booked to fly from Lethbridge to Tucson during the 16-week trial can expect some temporary modifications at the Airport to accommodate this new route as both the City and Flair explore the viability of a low cost carrier in Lethbridge.
Resuming paid parking is another change air traveler can expect at YQL starting September 1. Paid parking at Lethbridge Airport was temporarily paused in 2021 to accommodate terminal construction and to install new parking technology. This new system will offer discounted pricing for extended parking stays.
The return of the Lethbridge International Airshow, after a three-year hiatus, is an exciting step forward for YQL. This family-friendly event runs this Saturday, July 30 and Sunday July 31 and will offer an incredible display of crowd pleasing planes, jets, helicopters and more. More details are available at: https://lethbridgeairshow.com/
All of this work aligns with the City's plan to move the airport forward by increasing passenger traffic and revenue diversification through land development. For more information, view the 2021-2024 YQL Business Plan.