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LOCAL AIR SERVICE IMPACT

LOCAL AIR SERVICE IMPACT

On March 10, 2020, the Chamber learned from Air Canada representatives that the airline would be discontinuing service in Medicine Hat indefinitely as of April 1st.
 
The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce has long been advocating for improved air services in Medicine Hat with a formal policy position developed in 2012 looking at standards and practices that impose barriers to increased load capacity for flights from Medicine Hat. The Chamber had looked at airfare premiums, wait times for connecting flights, flight frequency and times, destination options, along with capacity for passenger flights.
 
“While businesses have indicated that they would choose to fly out of Medicine Hat, if the fares were more reasonable and schedules would accommodate same daytime business travel, we continue to face obstacles related to a more conducive model for air service,” stated Chamber President, Tracy Noullett, quoting the Chamber’s policy position.
 
The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce has been consistent in its recommendation that the City of Medicine Hat aggressively pursue options for lower airfares, an additional destination to Edmonton, increased flight frequency and better connection times for travelers in Southeast Alberta and Southwest Saskatchewan catchment area, to which seemingly was resolved when additional air service came to Medicine Hat.
 
“While this news is unfortunate, we are pleased that the Medicine Hat Airport will still be able to continue to provide scheduled air service between Medicine Hat and Calgary through WestJet”, further commented Noullett; “we hope that both business and leisure travelers will support this service so we can have continued air service from Medicine Hat into the future”.
 
There were multiple factors impacting the decision, including the switch to the Beechcraft, the added competition, the economic impacts and the current situation with Corvid-19, which have all impacted load factors resulting in the decision. Air Canada will not be looking at smaller aircrafts or different flight times and it was also confirmed that there are other communities that will be impacted by this decision as well and that this decision is certainly not exclusive to the Medicine Hat market.
 
“We are very disappointed by the announcement, as Air Canada has provided service to Medicine Hat for many years. Unfortunately, the economic conditions, along with the recent concerns with Covid-19 have resulted in this decision. However when things improve, we will commence our collective efforts to try to have them return to our market again”, stated Airport Manager, Jeff Huntus.
 
Air Canada will not be offering services past March 31st and all existing flights and bookings will continue to run until March 31st. Air Canada has been operating in Medicine Hat since approximately 1998.
 
 
Please direct all media inquiries to:
Tracy Noullett, President
c/o Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce
(403) 527-5214 ext.225

 
 
The Chamber of Commerce is a member-driven, volunteer-led organization, proudly representing the interests of businesses in our region, and working diligently to stimulate a strengthened and vibrant economy through our connections, support and influence. For more than 115 years, the Chamber has stood for promoting business, monitoring government and championing managed growth in the local economy. The Chamber represents over 800 businesses in our region and is aligned with both the Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC), which represents over 25,000 businesses and the Canadian Chambers of Commerce (CCC), which represents over 200,000 businesses. With the largest and most influential business organizations locally, provincially and federally, the Chamber network is the most unified, valued and influential business network in Canada and works together to shape policy and programs that will make a difference to businesses in our region.
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