Regina Executive Committee extends YQR’s tax exemption to allow pursuit of non-stop American flight

Regina’s Executive Committee decided to extend YQR International Airport’s tax exemption, with the aim of attracting a direct U.S. flight.

Regina Airport Authority CEO James Bogusz says they were in the process of re-establishing a non-stop flight to the States, but the pandemic put that on hold.

“Unfortunately, as it relates to the pandemic, the ability to attract a flight to go to a U.S. hub, whether that be an American airline or a Canadian airline, has become all but impossible with the closures on the border,” said Bogusz. “As a result of these non-essential travel advisories, and of course, reduced activity between Canada and the U.S., these efforts have been stalled.”

Regina had non-stop flights to the States until 2015 after United Airlines suspended their service from Regina and Saskatoon to Denver.

Bogusz says the demand for another non-stop U.S. flight in Regina has been relentless since he took over as CEO over three years ago.

“The number one thing that I’ve heard about as CEO is how important it is to recover a U.S. hub city to do business trade, obviously visiting friends and family,” said Bogusz. “And just the ability for citizens here to be able to access secondary U.S. markets easily without necessarily having to overnight in a hotel.”

Bogusz says the economic impact of having a direct U.S flight is at least $10 million a year, adding that number will only grow as more flights are added.

He says the flight would not only creates jobs, it would create opportunity.

“It connects those critical business, those conference attendees, even events like Agribition for example, it attracts a lot of Americans up here to Regina,” said Bogusz. “We want to make sure we have those direct linkages to really get our city kickstarted economically, but when it comes to air service, these are critical links that we haven’t had in years.”

While there’s lots of work to be done, Bogusz is hopeful the airport can return to normal rather quickly.

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