REPORTING · 23rd July 2013
The Northwest Regional Airport was buzzing with activity on Monday, July 22nd when West Jet Encore Executive Vice President Ferio Pugliese was in town to announce that West Jet planes will be landing at Terrace. Webb Bennett of the Kitselas first Nations welcomed everyone expressing this was a exciting time for the Region. Pugliese stated West Jet Encore is West Jet’s newest airline.
“We started with announcing new service to smaller communities across Canada and our first three communities which we announced were Nanaimo, Fort Saint John and Brandon. I’m here today to announce a fourth destination that West Jet Encore is going to serve and that’s here in Kitimat / Terrace. We will be launching service here starting on November the 25th. There will be two flights a day that are going to connect you to Vancouver. One at 6 am in the morning and the other 0will leave at 1:55 pm in the afternoon,” said Pugliese.
He expressed the introductory one way fairs are going to start at $135 which will allow customers to gain access to their domestic and international networks of flights. He explained they chose this area because of the economic development which is going on in this region and air service brings people both in and out of communities.
Pugliese stated the service will also bring people up here for tourism as well. “We see this as introductory service, we hope the market will grow substantially and we will be able to bring enough connectivity that we continue to put more service into here,” said Pugliese.
He explained they will be launching this service with a new type of aircraft. The Bombardier Turboprop Q400, a next generation aircraft which is fast, quiet and more fuel efficiently. He thanked the people who were responsible for bringing them to Terrace.
Ron Burnett, the President of the Airport Society got up to say a few words as well. “It is my pleasure on behalf of the owners of the Terrace Kitimat Airport Society to welcome West Jet finally to the corridor and to the Northwest,” said Burnett.
He expressed they were receiving inquires as to when West Jet is coming to the region daily since the decision was made and the runway was even extended many years ago to accommodate the company although they do not need the extension now.
Burnett expressed the Airport should now handle more than 52% of the load to the region and hopes to see the number of flights which are diverted away from the airport due to weather improve further.
Pugliese stated they will be back. They will be involved in Riverboat Days and they will be bringing an aircraft on a proving run to Terrace. They also have a gift for the airport which is large and could not fit on the plane they came up on so they will bring it on one of theirs.
Rose Klucas from the District of Kitimat welcomed West Jet on behalf of Kitimat Mayor and Council. She expressed this is a sign of what’s happening in the Northwest.