With the restoration of regional air service this past week, it is worth noting that many groups and individuals deserve credit for creating the conditions necessary for this restoration.
First and foremost, heartfelt thanks are due to WestJet Encore for this tangible vote of confidence in Brandon and Western Manitoba. With our growing provincial economy and our optimism for future prosperity, the market conditions were finally right for this expansion into the Westman market.
Secondly, the hard work of city officials and the business community cannot be overstated. Recognizing Manitoba's growing economy and the opportunities presented by this growth, the aggressive lobbying efforts of these folks underscored the reality of favourable market conditions and clearly demonstrated our collective enthusiasm for the restoration of air services.
Thirdly, the vital importance of infrastructure investment — particularly the $1.5 million investment in an Instrument Landing System — cannot be stressed enough. Without investment in infrastructure, no matter market conditions or local enthusiasm, no air service would be possible. This fact is particularly important and worth bearing in mind as the legislature continues to debate the value, purpose and extent of provincial infrastructure investment in Manitoba.
Finally, on a personal note, I would like to thank WestJet Executive VP and Encore president Ferio Pugliese for taking a direct interest in Brandon and taking the time necessary to travel to our community on Encore’s inaugural flight. My mom and I, travelling to Calgary for a family visit on this first flight, were hugely impressed by this personal touch and two loyal customers were thus freshly minted.
» Drew Caldwell, NDP MLA for Brandon East
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 6, 2013