June 25th, 2024

WestJet change compromises air access to Lethbridge

By Lethbridge Herald on May 29, 2024.


After reading the May 15th article that outlined how WestJet plans to reduce flights to and from Lethbridge, effective Oct. 27th, I was disappointed and very puzzled. 

It was reported that WestJet is “committed to ensuring that air access in these communities remains supported to achieve their economic and tourism objectives.” Currently there are three flights daily to Calgary (7:25 a.m., 2 p.m., 6:25 p.m.) and three flights that return from Calgary each day (12:40 p.m., 5:05 p.m., 11:10 p.m.). 

The new plan has absolutely no options for travellers. There will be one flight that leaves daily at 7:05 a.m. and one flight returning at 11:40 p.m.  I travel fairly often to visit family in Ontario and the Vancouver area. 

Having to be at the airport by 6 a.m. is somewhat inconvenient for people living in Lethbridge but what about the traveller from Milk River or Enchant? 

The return option isn’t any better – that 11:40 p.m. flight from Calgary will get in at 26 minutes after midnight.

 Travellers and family who provide the lift to/from the airport will have one thing in common – sleep deprivation. 

With these flight times tourists will not choose Lethbridge as their final destination!

What about the business traveller? Those needing to attend meetings or present at a seminar will be looking at a minimum of two nights of hotel but neither of those nights will involve a full night’s sleep. 

They will get to their hotel at  a.m. (if the flight is on time) and the next night they will have to be up by 5 a.m. in order to catch the 7:05 a.m. flight. Driving to/from Calgary is a better option.

The only economic benefit I see for Lethbridge is increased business for Red Arrow and the private shuttles who provide service to locations in Calgary including the airport. 

WestJet Encore may provide a bigger plane, but if there is only one flight option a day at less than convenient times, many travellers will take a bus/shuttle or drive up to Calgary for connecting flights.  

Down the road that could lead to no air access!

Sue Huffman


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Southern Albertan

Agreed….remember Time Air?

Peter E.

Sue is absolutely correct. This plan to reduce air service into Lethbridge will result in reduced travel by air in and out of our city. Our community will lose, passengers will lose and West jet will lose. Our only recourse in the event West jet dosen’t rethink this scheduling change is to fly Air Canada once we arrive in Calgary.

Guy Lethbridge

We have to fly to see our kids and we generally fly for vacations a couple times a year. In a normal year, we fly to somewhere, 5 or 6 times. We rarely fly from Lethbridge. Why?
Issues: if there is a problem, 9 times out of 10, it’s the YQL<->YYC leg that gets messed up.

Price, you can often fly Calgary-Toronto cheaper than Lethbridge-Calgary. Not all the time, but it happens.

Timing: even with 3 flights a day, almost every flight, you get to Calgary and wait long enough for your connecting flight that you could have left Lethbridge in a car at the same time and not missed your flight.

Now with one flight, we might as well have no air passenger service at all, why did we spend all that money on the airport recently?

Last edited 26 days ago by Guy Lethbridge
Dennis Bremner

I am not shocked. There is a saying “build it and they will come”. Politicians seem to want to follow that saying without actually looking at the latter unspoken part which is ” as long as their is something to come to Lethbridge for”.
We have two forces at work, those who use their spiritual/social assistance leanings to destroy the infrastructure the city already has, and the second group that pretends destruction is not happening and spend taxpayer momey to rebuild it better!
So you get outsiders telling you what you need. You seek consultants and they insist you need an Agric-Food Center which in the end cannot host live animals and has no food.
You then get the cloistered sitting around trying to figure out how to get the city to spend more money. So you get outsiders saying, “Well, if you had a longer runway then we could land Jets. If you had a motorized elevator ramps then we could park at your terminal. And, of course if you had a pretty airport it would be better.
But, these people don’t live here. They are airlifted in, they make bold statements and leave as the expert who said “we need”! We shuttled in Drug experts from Vancouver who see DTES as a raging success.
Supposedly, people were shuttled in from Edmonton and Calgary who said we needed an Agri-Center. More experts for the Airport.
We build on the basis, “if we build, they may come”? Then when things begin to fall apart, we get comments that yes we are number 1 in Crime but thats just Private Police Forces list! Ahhh so? Any outliar list suggesting Lethbridge is wonderful is “proof” that things are getting better. Anything that says were in trouble is immediately bashed as a outliar study?
So we knowingly dismiss the problem, prefer to work around the issue and then we are all surprised when “no one wants to come to Lethbridge in enough size to support the “dream””?
I made a statement numerous times over 6 years ago. If you ignore your own society and allow it to devolve, adding lipstick changes nothing!
We religiously (pun intended) sacrifice our society so people can further their religious beliefs. We continue to stagnate our own growth by catering to these groups, who of course, do a vital and necessary job for Politicians!
Politicians believe the sacrifice of the downtown is a small price to pay if they can be “seen catering to” and “being concerned for” the wokes – newly defined Homeless which now includes criminals and addicts! All you have to do is look at the smiles. the glee, the almost giddyness of those who think a FASD facility a block from Lethbridge Drug Central is a great idea and realize that the ship has lost its steerage!. Its a great vote getter and difficult to fight, because if you do, you are “against the most vulnerable”? Which initself is another saying made by those paid to furnish the service/destroy our society, and an estreme twist on reality!

Last edited 25 days ago by Dennis Bremner

Lethbridge never was (and I can not foresee it becoming) a “destination point”. One flight a day in and out of our city (for now) is the financially feasible option for Westjet, so that my friend is what we end up with. When the City valiantly rescued the airport from Lethbridge County, poured how many millions of dollars of renovations and staffing with now City of Lethbridge employees….but we were going to have greater usage of the airport facility, we were going to have “Flair Airline” with an internation flight coming (but forget we have no Customs/Immigration services). Seriously, the City should cut their/our loses, and try to divest of the “white elephant” airport facility…but who will want it and the money pit head ache it is? In the between and mean time, I can’t wait to see what Westjet will be raising the cost to fly in and out of our City will be!

Last edited 25 days ago by HaroldP
Dennis Bremner

Not sure I agree Harold. I believe any city can become a “destination spot” in degrees.
The attributes of a destination spot can be broken down into categories. Then you exploit your best! One of the categories is how inviting your downtown is, and what you offer.
If you offer good food, good shopping areas “a SAFE environment” a pleasing atmosphere, fresh air, you can exploit those attributes to the hilt. Easy access and benefits in your trailer parks are another.
“If you go to downtown Lethbridge and quickly realize you are in a city where open drug dealing occurs regularily and the recipients are sleeping in front of your restaurant covered in feces, or vomit, you don’t come back.”
Its pretty easy to understand, really not sure why it needs to be repeated over and over again.
Of course, the come back is, every city is like this. Thats correct, thats because every city does EXACTLY the same thing to combat the problem. We had a once in a lifetime “not” to be just like everyone else and no one stood up for this city, and I mean NO ONE!
There was ONE alternative to destroying our downtown, I proposed it, but, thats a sad statement on who actually cares about our society Out of 100,000 people no one bothered to take the time to make a submission. Not that it would have mattered because no one tabled the submission or took it seriously. The plan right from the start was to destroy our downtown, anyone saying otherwise is a BSer!
So we are now reaping what we sow! We get hypocrits flying in from Edmonton who want to “help” by making us the goto city for Addicts in Southern Alberta! Do you see how that seems a tad destructive?
When a Hypocrit does fly in, we adorn him with thanks and feel grateful we got the money or building that contributes to the destruction.
It reminds me of when we purchased the Victory Class Submarine from the British, all of the Senior Officers were just so chuffed with themsleves that “Tea” would contimue in the old British Style and the Belgian Barbell class was elliminated. The fact that the Vicotry were a piece of crap and would cost Canada a fortune to repair and spare were irrelevant! Why? because people are afraid to turn down CRAP because they think if they turn the CRAP down they won’t get anything! So they reluctantly listen to a Minister espouse how his appointed supervisors at LHA can now build the FASD that Lethbridge always wanted and needed because of the UCP policy.
Everyone then applauds and knows its the worst place for it, but they think if they turn it down, they won’t get one, period!
I have complete faith that this city will destroy itself in the next 10 years and we will spend the next 20 putting more lipstick on the pig that will attract more addicts and more social services to treat them.
Why is this city so shocked that WestJet does market analysis? I will tell you why, the CIty has never done an HONEST Market Analysis on itself, thats why!
There is a fear here in Lethbridge and that fear is;
“speaking and listening to the truth”
I find that the strangest thing!
PS I have found one Honest person so far(when dealing with these topics) , Mr James (Robin James’s husband) he called me an a@@hole to my face! I respect him for that, for one reason, he had an opinion ((that is valid) and had the testicular fortitude to express it. A rarity in spineless Lethbridge!
I truly do not mind being the “Leper” why? I speak the truth, something that I thought I shared with Lethbridge and the Indigenous community, but I was wrong, no one really wants to hear the truth, it hurts too much!

Last edited 25 days ago by Dennis Bremner

Hey Dennis, I totally agree, “Lethbridge could become a destination point” but for now, little hope insight. Marketing and promotion along with logistical planning to create a “Lethbridge hub” with spokes reaching Waterton, Castle Mountain, Writing on Stone, Cardston (Remington Carriage) etc. It might work…. but I see no “roadmaps” in those directions currently! Dependant on Nikko Yuko “Japanese Garden” that has moved off the mark as being a true serene, original Japanese Garden to an arcade of frensy, food, drink, song and dance. Gone is the day when the “JG” was a quiet refuge, where the only (occasional) sound was the gong of the infamous bell, and that only struck with discretion. The likes of Sensei (Dr. Robert Hironaka) who knew and respected the true spirit of JG probably turn over in their graves as to the “development(s)” at the JG. DR. Hironaka was overseer of the JG Board for a very long time. Oh, and let’s not forget the CPR – High Level Bridge, a “once and done” viewing…. the Fort Whoopup,…after the City chased away the original, private operators and had the City take it over, this could be developed, but currently is lack luster. Otherwise I agree, Dennis, truly a step into the downtown of our City is not only unsafe, but with really no desired stores/shops/restaurants to visit. (Unless the expensive, unnecessary “bicycle lanes” are an attraction?). When the public speak, raising issues ( ie bicycle lanes, ridiculous parking procedures, self cleaning toilets (remember those failed $450,000.00 biffys?) Out door ice rink on 6th (that not only was not used, but was seldom frozen in our chinook climate…) Dennis, agreed your suggestion/plan for Downtown was viable but unfortunately not found to be “politically correct” for the day! Too bad!

Last edited 25 days ago by HaroldP
Dennis Bremner

Agreed -The Cities responsibility to the residents is to create an environment in which business can prosper. When businesses prosper it attracts more businesses. If Restauranteurs see a niche for elegant dining and an environment that supports it, they will “bring it”.
However if you aspire to mediocrity at the core of your city, then think that fancy buildings on the outskirts will change the “theme you have chosen” then you are dead wrong.
When you create medicority in your downtown, who you attract are social services which continue to support your have not image. So its import you attract the “right businesses” not the wrong ones.
Social Services are a permanent business with longevity. The longer they are needed the more rundown your city becomes.
Another example of stupid ideas. My old boat Submarine HMCS Ojibwa sits in a little Ontario Town because an “expert” flew in to say a Submarine would be a great money maker. Well the management has defaulted on the loan and now this little town is saddled with a $6million dollar dud.
World’s biggest hockey stick, worlds tallest potato, etc etc, These are all “Expert opinion” on how to filtch the treasury and kill a town or city.
If people do not come to your town or city it is because you are doing nothing “practuical” to entice them. Good Trailer parks with shuttles into a SAFE Downtown, with entrepeneurs who bring real ideas to the forefront. ZIP Lines across the Oldman river that lead to tubing and boating excursions. $50million in Agri-food debt has 1/1000th in pay back when adding culture, cuisine, and fun to your city.
Personally, I cannot get over the fact that we sit next door to the largest Reserve of the proud Blackfoot Nation and somehow cannot drum up anything but mediocrity that does not help them or us! “They” still seem to believe whitey is looking after their best interest, yet seem very vocal when a camera is propped up in front of them. So why is it that we are so afraid to have a meeting where people speak the truth, is it because we have to watch we do not offend or hurt peoples feelings that its deemed better to lie? People consider me rude because people find the truth “unbearable”!
So for as long as we cannot face what we are doing to our downtown then Ministers will bestow as much crap on us as we can take. Then when things go downhill, they will rightly say- WE WANTED IT! The interesting thing is – “who is we”?
This city is aspiring, as we speak, to mediocrity, and failing to achieve even that!
Are there no real experts anymore, have we become a babysitting city that apsires to Washing the feet of those that rob us. and nothing else? If so, good luck with that!
We could have made Standoff and Lethbridge a better place to live, instead we decided to destroy them both, truly amazing!

Last edited 25 days ago by Dennis Bremner

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