Small step for airport security, giant leap for regional economy
Industry pressure and local lobbying has helped the Edson airport take a necessary first step toward accepting commercial flights.
A regulatory change from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) will allow Edson the opportunity to have security screening at its airport. Obtaining the authorization was a significant hurdle in giving Edson the capability to accept commercial air traffic.
The move can only mean long-term benefits for Jasper, according to Jasper Mayor Richard Ireland. Tourism’s predicted share of the commercial passenger market is approximately 15 per cent, with plenty of room for growth.
“It’s really exciting. Locally, this effort has been going on for a long time,” Ireland said.
Members of various incarnations of Jasper’s local chamber of commerce and town committees have been calling for regional commercial flight capabilities for more than two decades. Whereas in the past the hope was that the Hinton airport could start accepting small carriers or charters, now the focus is on taking the next steps toward scheduled flights from larger airlines.
“We will go back to the airlines to see how they can be enticed to fly a new scheduled service into Edson,” Ireland said.
Exactly how the security screening will operate and who will pay for what has yet to be determined. It is also likely that the airport will require significant physical upgrades to accommodate a different type of traveller.
The mayor said the airport’s new status was the result of collaboration, with the resource industry based in the Edson area spearheading the initiative and the tourism stakeholders piggy backing on those efforts.