Originally Posted by Brutopian
Saskatoon airport growth continues
Bigger growth possible with more flights
Reported by Chris Carr, July 17, 2012, NewsTalk 650 CKOM
The numbers keep going up at the Saskatoon airport with passenger traffic jumping about seven per cent from where it was this time last year.
Don Atchison, Saskatoon's mayor said he believes those number would be even higher, if there was more aircraft coming and going in and out of Saskatoon.
"That's one of the things that really hurts us these days. We're just not getting enough aircraft through the city," said Atchision.
Atchision says he would like to see direct flight to and from markets like Asia and Europe.
Passenger growth is definitely a plus however, with growth means over-sale. This does not look good on the Airline or the Airport authority. To give some perspective domestically, in an 8 hour period, it's typical for at least 1 flight to centers such as Toronto, Calgary, and even Winnipeg, to be oversold. The issue at YXE is not having the capacity for the amount of passengers flying. There are two options to solve this problem. 1) Increase the number of flights to these domestic hubs; however, this increases the cost to airlines as fee's associate with additional aircraft arrival/departure increase. 2) Airlines increase their passenger capacity vs. flight quantity. The typical aircraft flying into Saskatoon for Air Canada is the CRJ200, which can hold approximately 50 passengers (Westjet - Boeing 737-200). Air Canada could start servicing YXE with larger aircraft such as the Embraer 175. The flight capacities increase, however the flight quantity stays the same, thus landing fee's stay relatively the same (fee's are usually based on aircraft capacities). A con to this suggestion - airlines finding larger aircraft to service YXE thus putting additional pressure on their limited fleets. If the current airlines can't take advantage of increased passenger loads, SAA must look to other regional airlines to pick up the short falls, such as Porter, or even encourage local airlines such as Transwest Air to pick up the slack to short-range hubs such as Calgary and Winnipeg.
Internationally, I've always felt that SAA pursuing international flights to ASIA and Europe was beyond reality; rather wishful thinking. There is a overlapping problem with flights to domestic hubs. These flights are oversold. Two reasons: 1) Business Travel 2) Destination and International connection Travel. SAA should be actively seeking and creating an attractive business plan for US airlines to service US hubs. Not only will this take pressure off the domestic flights with connections to US international destination/hub, as well it would allow passengers at YXE to fly direct to more US destinations or US international hub connectors such as Los Angeles. (For example, flying to Auckland, New Zealand, YXE-DEN-LAX-New Zealand or even flying to Las Vegas, YXE-YYC-LAS)
US hubs would service YXE well, whether it be 1-2 flights weekly. For example: Los Angeles, Ft. Lauderdale, and New York. I also believe Westjet should expand it's direct YXE - LAS flight from it's current two times' weekly from September to June seasonal to a direct year round, reduced to 1 a week during the non-seasonal service time. During it's seasonal flights to Vegas, Westjet fills it's Boeing 737-800 to near capacity if not capacity every flight. As well, increasing it's seasonal service to Phoenix an additional 2-3 months from it's current 5-6 month flying season would be beneficial.
On top of these recommendations, I believe YXE could service several more direct international sunspot-destinations as the 20% increase proves. Either provide larger aircraft, increased number of flights, more destinations, or an earlier start-up season such as late November, early December.
I believe there is huge potential for YXE, however SAA must look inside our continental boundaries before they look beyond an unrealistic reality.