Lethbridge and area residents can get ready to fly Flair starting December 1, 2022. Flair Airlines, Canada's only independent, ultra-low-cost carrier will begin offering a direct, weekly flight from Lethbridge to Tucson, Arizona, enhancing the service available out of the YQL Airport.
"The City of Lethbridge has been proactively preparing the Airport for an opportunity just like this and we are thrilled to welcome Flair Airlines to southern Alberta," says Mayor Blaine Hyggen. "Several of the initiatives within our Council Action Plan are focused on moving the airport forward and this work aligns strongly with our strategic priorities of economic prosperity and supporting the region."
The City of Lethbridge recently invested $2.6 million in the airport to leverage an additional $23 million in Provincial and Federal grant funding for a variety of important enhancements. In addition, Council approved a new Airport Incentive Framework in early 2022 to help negotiate agreements for new routes.
"The Airport Incentive Framework was pivotal in securing the agreement with Flair," says City Councilor John Middleton Hope, who brought forward the resolution to Council. "By making that investment, we've been able to attract this successful, growing airline and we are proud that they have chosen Lethbridge as their next destination."
Flair has been providing ultra-low fare travel in Canada since 2017 and have brought affordable travel to 31 Canadian and North American destinations. A one-way flight, direct from Lethbridge to Tucson, is anticipated to cost approximately $125.
"We are happy to bring an affordable sun destination to Lethbridge Airport and we know it will be a welcome escape from the cold Alberta winter. Flair is pleased to have the opportunity to connect Lethbridge with Tucson and we look forward to welcoming passengers on board this winter," says Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer, Flair Airlines. "This long-term partnership means that we will be able to offer this service for years to come."
Despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lethbridge Airport has seen an increase in passenger movement in the last several months. On February 24, the City also announced the addition of Transit service to the Lethbridge Airport starting on May 4 making it even more accessible to residents and visitors.
"Council's leadership in prioritizing the airport as an economic hub has been vital in bringing this opportunity together, along with garnering key input from the Lethbridge community and region through our MyYQL survey," says Lisa Trent, Director of Commercial, Corporate and Customer Services. "What we've heard is that people are looking for a sun destination and Arizona ranks at the top of that list. I'm hopeful all of southern Alberta will embrace this new route and show Flair that this is a welcomed and desired service in our community."
The ease of using a small airport like YQL instead of accessing a major centre such as Calgary is attractive to many travelers and recent renovations at the YQL Airport have enhanced the passenger experience even more. Updates include a new baggage carousel, upgrades to the parking lot technology, upgrades to washroom facilities and new seating with technology charging capabilities.
What may be less visible to passengers but important to the safety and operations aspect of the airport will be the airfield and pavement rehabilitation updates. The planned upgrades include incorporating LED lighting to the airfield lighting system which saves on energy consumption and ongoing maintenance costs. All aspects are needed to attracted more airlines and larger aircraft to the region.
Join the conversation by taking the MyYQL survey and share your ideas on enhancements at the Lethbridge Airport.
About Tucson, Arizona
Second largest city in Arizona with a population of 542,629
Home to the University of Arizona
Tucson was the first American city to be designated a "City of Gastronomy" by UNESCO. This means they are internationally recognized for their food and culture, with a particular focus on gourmet cuisine.
Located in southern Arizona, Tucson is just 1hr and 44mins southeast of the State's largest city, Phoenix and one hour from the Mexican border.
According to Visit Tucson, the city enjoys 350+ days of sunshine a year, making Tucson is one of the sunniest cities in the United States!
The annual average temperature in Tucson is approximately 30 degrees Celsius.
Tucson boasts some great outdoor activities including hiking, biking, horseback riding, bird watching, cave exploring and rock climbing.
City of Lethbridge