Cold Lake: Survey sees a large need for commercial air service

17-Jan-2018 Residents in the Lakeland are eager for regularly scheduled, commercial flights that will provide seamless connections to destinations across Canada and throughout the world.

The City of Cold Lake’s commercial air services survey, conducted late in 2017, received more attention and support than anyone expected.

“We are thrilled with the results of the survey but, more importantly, we never could have predicted the level of interest it saw,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “The number of people who took the time to do the survey points directly at a strong need for this service in our region.”

A total of 3,539 people responded to the survey, with 3,051 of the respondents reporting that they lived within the catchment area. The survey, designed by the consulting firm AirBiz, focused on a 150-kilometre radius around the City of Cold Lake for its intended purpose. The number of respondents represents four per cent of the entire population within the catchment area.

Of the respondents in the catchment area, 98 per cent said they were likely to use CATSA-screened, regularly scheduled air service from the City of Cold Lake to a major airport. The study is accurate plus or minus two percentage points, over 95 per cent of the time. Detailed analysis of the responses will be used to market the city to air carriers. 

On average, respondents took 3.3 trips by air for both business and leisure in the 12 months prior to taking the survey. The vast majority of respondents – 88 per cent – had travelled by air at least once in the past 12 months.

“We always knew there was a very strong demand for this service in our area,” Copeland said. “With CATSA-screened flights, people would be able to check their bags in Cold Lake and seamlessly connect to flights across the country, or the world, through the main terminal at a major hub airport. We see a strong demand for this type of service in the survey.”

The city has been pursuing regularly scheduled air service since late 2012. In July 2015, the Federal Government made the regulatory changes required to bring CATSA screening to Cold Lake through CFB Cold Lake. The city and seven others were given access to a new, cost-recovery service model through which CATSA screening services can be offered to the select airports.

“We appreciate the support we’ve seen from the Federal Government and from our friends at 4 Wing,” Copeland said. “With different levels of government and a number of government departments involved, it’s a complex project, but we are making headway and we are anticipating some big announcements in 2018.”

The City of Cold Lake has allocated $1.5 million in its 2018 Capital Budget for work on the project.

“The economic benefit this would bring our entire region cannot be denied,” Copeland said. “With the amount of business done in our region, a convenient commercial connection to a major airport is long overdue and would pay big dividends once established.”