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It's been a long time coming, but, once again, there are non-stop flights between Kamloops and Edmonton.
"Yes, we were without flights to Edmonton for 6 years," said Kamloops Airport Ed Ratuski.
"So, we're very happy to have Flair flying non-stop between Kamloops and Edmonton, twice-a-week on Wednesdays and Sundays, starting June 18."
Flair is what's called an ultra-low-cost airline.
So, one-way fares between Kamloops and Edmonton start as low as $29.
The ultra-low-cost model also means that Flair targets leisure travellers and the visiting-friends-and-family crowd who are willing to be flexible with their travel dates in order to get cheap tickets.
Thus, flights only twice a week.
Flair will do the Kamloops to Edmonton route with its 189-seat Boeing 737-800 jet.
Ratuski admits that's a lot of seats to fill for a new service.
That's why Kamloops Airport and Flair are raising awareness about the new flights in hopes that flyers from both Kamloops and Edmonton book flights.
That promotion started this week when Flair held an event at Kamloops Airport to tout the convenience of the new city pair.
People met with Flair vice-president Eric Tanner and could tour Kamloops Airport with Ratuski.
Kamloops Airport approached as many airlines as it could with Kamloops-Edmonton market opportunity and Flair was the first to come through with a schedule-frequency-aircraft-
Currently, Kamloops passengers who want to fly to Edmonton have to connect, with a plane change, in either Vancouver with Air Canada or Calgary with WestJet.
Air Canada flies between Kamloops and Vancouver four times daily, WestJet between Kamloops and Calgary four times daily.
It was WestJet that last offered non-stops daily between Kamloops and Edmonton six years ago.
WestJet attempted to restart the service in the summer of 2021, but the pandemic thwarted it.
Flair has been aggressive in the ultra-low-cost market in Canada, offering flights in and out of 23 cities -- Abbotsford, Calgary, Charlottetown, Deer Lake, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Halifax, Kamloops, Kelowna, Kitchener, London, Montreal, Ottawa, Prince George, Quebec City, Saint John, Saskatoon, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Windsor and Winnipeg.
Seasonally, Flair also has flights to US destinations (Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York's JFK, Orlando, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Tucson and San Francisco) and Mexico (Cancun, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta).
Kelowna airport is well-served by Flair with flights to Calgary, Edmonton, Kitchener, Toronto and Winnipeg.
Kamloops Airport is in rebuilding mode.
During COVID it lost daily flights between Kamloops and Prince George with Central Mountain Air and service to Vancouver with Pacific Coastal.
The airport is working at getting flights to Prince George back, as well as service to Victoria and Toronto.
"Our target marketing shows that daily non-stops to both Victoria and Toronto are top routes that Kamloops passengers want and the airport can support," said Ratuski.
"In the summer of 2019, we did have non-stops Kamloops-Toronto with Air Canada Rouge. We'd like that back."
Ratuski pointed out that Kamloops is a strong year-round market desirable to people flying both in and out for business, vacation, visiting friends and family and skiing in the winter at nearby Sun Peaks Resort.
Ratuski has worked in aviation for 25 years and was actually also Kamloops Airport operations manager from 2010 to 2016.
From 2016 to 2019 he was on the Vantage Airport Group team overseeing the redevelopment of Central B Terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York City.
Vantage is the same group that manages and operates Kamloops Airport.