In this January 2006 photo, ground crew ready the first regular scheduled passenger jet in four years at the Brandon Municipal Airport for takeoff. The flight was headed to Cancun, Mexico, with 40 people from Brandon aboard.
SASKATOON —WestJet has invited the City of Brandon to send a delegation to a series of meetings in Calgary on June 27-28 regarding its plans to establish a regional airline in 2013.
The Brandon Sun supports efforts to lure WestJet service to Westman.
The June 28 meeting, billed by WestJet as a regional day, will enable the City of Brandon to make its case for why the Westman city should be considered a destination, Brandon Mayor Shari Decter Hirst said.
Decter Hirst said she will personally lead the Brandon delegation to Calgary.
Other cities have been invited to make their own presentations to the airline and all of them will be asked about their communities, the state of their airports and why WestJet should include them in their future plans. Each community will have 30 minutes to make their case in front of WestJet president and CEO Gregg Saretsky and other senior WestJet executives and staff.
"I think it means we have cleared another hurdle in a very competitive process going forward, and this will be an opportunity for us to make the case for Brandon," Decter Hirst said while attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities national conference in Saskatoon on Friday.
"We are going to put our heads together and we have been working closely, one-on-one with a lot of folks out at WestJet," Decter Hirst said. "Not only is this a chance for them to see us, but it will also be an opportunity for us to see who our competition is."
It is at this meeting Decter Hirst intends to remind WestJet of the successful test run it had providing Brandon with air service nearly a decade ago.
"We have a very solid business case and we know that WestJet can make money in the Brandon market," Decter Hirst said. "We need to do some buff and polish and some tweaking at the airport to meet the security standards and modernize the airport. I think at the end of the day, we’ve got a quarter-million people in western Manitoba who are looking for a regional airport. There are a lot of people who are flying because of business and a lot of people travelling because of leisure. I think we have some real opportunities so I look forward to making our case in person."
She added it’s also a safe bet the flights to Calgary will be on a WestJet aircraft.
"That would probably be a strategic decision," Decter Hirst said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 2, 2012