WestJet is the main airline that flies out of Lethbridge airport, providing a direct line to Calgary.
Although with limited flights coming to and from YQL during the week, the airport remains fairly quiet over Christmas according to airport manager, Cameron Prince.
“You don’t seem to get those bigger crowds during the holiday,” said Prince. “They come up a little bit, but you’re not going to see large increases in queue times and things like that.
“We encourage people to fly out of Lethbridge: you’re likely to have a bit of an easier experience going into Calgary and beyond.”
Prince said that in recent months they’ve seen an uptick in people catching flights to Calgary International Airport rather than driving, as tickets between the cities have been seen dropping as low as $80.
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“Sometimes the tickets are even cheaper, but it’s also cheaper than driving, paying for fuel and all the extra parking fees you have in Calgary, as well,” he said.
“During the holiday season you also have the benefit of an easy experience moving through the terminal and carrying on from there.”
In a statement to Global News, WestJet said it has been “proactively preparing” for a surge of winter travellers and inclement weather.
“For the upcoming holiday period, we anticipate flying almost 2,000 guests to and from YQL (Lethbridge Airport), with our busiest days in Lethbridge expected to be Dec. 12, 19 and 21,” the statement said. “These numbers are currently trending lower than 2019, however they are subject to change as people do purchase last minute flights.”
Prince went on to share that while they stay fairly consistent in passenger traffic throughout the year, the last quarter of the year typically sees a slight increase in people accessing flights.
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However, he said they are still quite a bit down since 2019, as YQL also had Air Canada operating inside the terminal back then.
Heading into 2024, Prince said they’re hoping they can come across opportunities in the new year to possibly expand to accommodate larger aircrafts and distances.
“Our main thing is always trying to find more funding sources to improve our facilities, and just increase those chances of bringing in more flights and bigger flights to more destinations.”
As for Flair Airlines, the long-awaited low-cost carrier that was anticipated to take flight from YQL in December, delays in September leaves those departures up in the air.
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