The Government of Saskatchewan says it will wind down its Executive Air Service effective Thursday.
According to a government official, use of the service has decreased drastically in recent years – down from 595 trips in 2006-07 to 165 trips in 2016-17. Mileage is down by 73 per cent.
The Executive Air Service flew the Lieutenant Governor, the Premier, Cabinet Ministers, MLAs and senior government officials.
Elected officials and the Lieutenant Governor will now travel by vehicle or use commercial and charter flight services when air travel is required to attend meetings and events around the province.
Richard Murray Deputy Minister responsible says in the last year they have seen a large reduction in miles flown.
“With the further reduction of 20-percent in the last year in miles flown,” says Murray. “We’ve kind of reached the tipping point where we can no longer justify the fixed costs versus the amount we’re able to recover.”
Christine Tell, Minister Responsible says the decision is based on the declining usage of the two planes.
“The numbers of flight have dropped 73 percent,” says Tell. “Business government usage has dropped 73-percent. Yet our fixed costs continue to remain the same. This isn’t a good way to be spending taxpayers money to continue to be operating this service.”
Eliminating Executive Air is expected to save 700-thousand dollars 1-million dollars annually based on current travel levels.
Efforts are underway to sell the two aircraft.
Executive Air employees have been notified of the decision and the Ministry of Central Services is working with employees and their union as per the collective bargaining agreement.
The Saskatchewan Air Ambulance will continue to operate with no changes to its service.