Will Westjet start Cranbrook service?

Old May 20, 2007, 9:32 am
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Will Westjet start Cranbrook service?

Yesterday on the Calgary news, there was mention of the expansion of Cranbrook's runway and terminal, with the anticipation of international flights coming to their airport. It was also mentioned that with the expansion, a third airline is being wooed and Westjet was specifically named. Do you think Cranbrook is on Westjet's radar and if so, what would the target desitinations be: Vancouver and Calgary, making connections from those cities, or ....?
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Old May 20, 2007, 11:56 am
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From the Cranbrook city website:

"The Rockies makes Cranbrook and the East Kootenay a class, four seasons resort destination. Visitors from around the world experience the "Rocky Mountain High" while camping, fishing, boating and hiking. During the winter, Canada's finest ski resorts come alive at Kimberley, Fernie, Banff, Panorama, Snow Valley and Lake Louise, only short drives from Cranbrook. Cranbrook's beautiful natural setting, well developed tourist facilities and access to major tourist attractions including many golf courses and Fort Steele Heritage Town are the key ingredients for the local trade and con.vention industry.

Cranbrook serves retail trading area population exceeding 55,000. As a result, the City has two major shopping centres, an active central business district, over 25 hotels and motels, three campgrounds within the City and more than 50 eating establishments. Moreover, the City boasts a well rounded menu of community facil.ities including a community college, 14 public schools, an acute, intermediate and extended care hospital, senior citizens homes, 20 parks, 3 golf courses, water slide, arenas, a curling rink, a recreation complex, per.forming arts theatre, movie theatre, libraries, daily and weekly newspapers, 2 radio stations, cable television, high speed internet service and the internationally renowned Canadian Museum of Rail Travel."

My question is: can this community and the environs sustain another carrier ?
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Old May 20, 2007, 3:44 pm
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Cranbrook has 2 daily flights on AC Beechcraft from Calgary, 2 daily flights AC Dash-8s from Vancouver, and 3 daily flights on small Pacific Coastal planes from Vancouver. I doubt the market can support a 737.
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Old May 20, 2007, 5:14 pm
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Originally Posted by StuMcIlwain
Cranbrook has 2 daily flights on AC Beechcraft from Calgary, 2 daily flights AC Dash-8s from Vancouver, and 3 daily flights on small Pacific Coastal planes from Vancouver. I doubt the market can support a 737.
That is what I thought...
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Old May 20, 2007, 10:32 pm
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Originally Posted by StuMcIlwain
I doubt the market can support a 737.
Well there was a 737 to Cranbrook several years ago by PWA, including an unfortunately disasterous crash.

"1978/02/11, PWA 737 Crash, Cranbrook BC, 42 fatalities, 4 injuries. Boeing 737 coming in to land was destroyed when it tried to avoid hitting a snowplow on the runway."
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Old May 21, 2007, 7:16 am
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Yes. There was also 737 service to Brandon, Thompson, Sudbury, and Sault Ste Marie at one time, all of which WS has tried to serve and pulled out. If WS wants to go after smaller markets, where there probably is a demand for some competition, they need another aircraft type.
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Old May 21, 2007, 7:38 am
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Originally Posted by StuMcIlwain
If WS wants to go after smaller markets, where there probably is a demand for some competition, they need another aircraft type.
An idea that has value.

WS future growth in Canada is opening up new routes. You can't keep adding up the load factor.

The 737 is not the ideal platform for the smaller routes: the YSBs, the YYBs et al.

A second aircraft in the fleet would indeed veer from the one aircraft model but with only the 737 and its variants, WS seems to have reached market saturation with very few airports left capable of finacially sustainable 737 routes.

A tough situation for the domestic market.

While I am not a fan of the RJ/100/200 and the CRA 705, I must recognize that this aircraft is a niche market aircraft and serves smaller routes very well. Add to these models, the Embrear and its variants and you have some more choices.
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Old May 21, 2007, 9:38 am
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But, did anyone think that Comox could support the 737 either??

Westjet actually caused a housing boom in that community by offering direct flights from Alberta.
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Old May 21, 2007, 10:49 am
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Originally Posted by zoyabean
But, did anyone think that Comox could support the 737 either??

Westjet actually caused a housing boom in that community by offering direct flights from Alberta.
The Comox airport catchment area is much more than Comox.

Courtenay and Campbell River and smaller communities in the North part of Vancouver Island certainly funnel traffic into the WestJet system.

Canadian Forces Base Comox is probably a steady customer providing some revenue to Eastern destinations.

WestJet flights avoid YVR and connections are through YEG and YYC
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Old May 21, 2007, 2:41 pm
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I grew up in Fernie, and I would argue that Cranbrook could sustain 737 flights. The problem right now is that the airfares out of Cranbrook are fairly high and a lot of people are travelling elsewhere to fly. If you took a look at the airports in the area, I'm pretty sure that Cranbrook has the only Canadian commercial airport in a 3 to 5 hour driving radius. They are losing large numbers of travelers who are driving several hours (3 to 8 hours) to fly out of the airport in Calgary if they are flying in Canada or to Kalispell and Spokane in the U.S..

If increased competition were to occur on flights to Cranbrook and it brought down prices somewhat, I think that a lot more people would start using the Cranbook airport rather than driving several hours to save some money. Remember that no matter which airport people in the region are flying from, they are going to have to drive a minimum of one hour and possibly two to get to the "local" airport. So if you have to drive an extra hour to save a hundred bucks/person, it isn't that big a deal.

The other consideration is that the ski resorts in the area are growing fairly quickly and the region is starting to become a bigger summer destination with several golf course being built and lots of other outdoor activities being available.
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Old May 23, 2007, 7:22 pm
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Originally Posted by airbus320
The Comox airport catchment area is much more than Comox.
Courtenay and Campbell River and smaller communities in the North part of Vancouver Island certainly funnel traffic into the WestJet system.
Actually the biggest draws are the traffic from the mid island, south of YQQ. It's a lot faster and little shorter (due to the new highway, and the fact that you need to drive south then north to get to YYJ) to drive from Nanaimo to YQQ (1h15) than to YYJ (1h45). Add Parksville, Qualicum, Port Alberni, Tofino etc etc all to that list.

Anything north of Ladysmith will be faster to YQQ, which leaves only Duncan and Victoria are quicker to YYJ (by road), which means. something like 40%+ of the island's population is closer to YQQ than YYJ

But back on topic, no Cranbrook isn't likely to get 737 service from anyone, which then brings the question in, will WJ ever buy some CRJ/ERJs ???
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Old May 23, 2007, 7:29 pm
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Originally Posted by robsawatsky
Well there was a 737 to Cranbrook several years ago by PWA, including an unfortunately disasterous crash.

"1978/02/11, PWA 737 Crash, Cranbrook BC, 42 fatalities, 4 injuries. Boeing 737 coming in to land was destroyed when it tried to avoid hitting a snowplow on the runway."
A complete disaster on all counts,
Pilot Error (didn't transmit intentions at the rqd points of the apch)
Design Flaw (no one ever expected a rejected landing after thrust reverser deployment.)
Airport Crew (didn't have a firetruck to go through the snow)

etc etc


http://aviation-safety.net/database/...?id=19780211-0
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Old May 27, 2007, 11:32 am
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Originally Posted by airbus320
While I am not a fan of the RJ/100/200 and the CRA 705, I must recognize that this aircraft is a niche market aircraft and serves smaller routes very well. Add to these models, the Embrear and its variants and you have some more choices.
I'm not so sure. I think that Coffeebean had shared with us that the RJ was in fact not a very sustainable aircraft for carriers of WS' ilk.

Simon
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Old Jul 3, 2007, 3:12 am
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Horizon Air?

How about QX doing a run with the Q200/400 from SEA. Does Cranbrook have the Canadian Customs facilities to make this happen? Just a thought but QX does have the smaller aircraft and the connections to the west coast and Mexico out of SEA.
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Old Jul 3, 2007, 11:59 am
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Originally Posted by edmonton2001
How about QX doing a run with the Q200/400 from SEA. Does Cranbrook have the Canadian Customs facilities to make this happen? Just a thought but QX does have the smaller aircraft and the connections to the west coast and Mexico out of SEA.
"CANADA BORDER SERVICE AGENCY (CBSA):

Cranbrook Airport is a designated point of entry. CBSA is available on request (prior notice required)."
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