YXH By the Numbers – An Update From Medicine Hat Regional Airport
With recently announced changes to air service at the Medicine Hat Regional Airport, it seems timely to provide an update on airport activities and services. Since 2013 the airport has undertaken an aggressive expansion and rehabilitation program with a view to improving facilities for air travelers and airlines.
In 2013/14 the City completed the expansion and renovation of the passenger terminal building; 2015 saw the expansion of the aircraft parking apron and rehabilitation of the taxiway network and in 2017/18 a complete restoration of the primary runway, including underground drainage, new LED lighting and new regulators and control panels. The airport also undertook to design an improved all-weather access procedure to reduce passenger inconvenience related to flight delays and cancellations during periods of adverse weather. This new satellite based procedure will be available to airlines and pilots in August of 2019 and will be in use for the upcoming winter flying season.
While all this was going on, the airport continued to meet with air carriers to present the Medicine Hat opportunity. The goal was to attract a second carrier and ensure the success of the existing carrier.
The first part of the objective was achieved in June of 2018 when WestJet commenced service between Medicine Hat and Calgary 3 times daily using a 34 seat Saab 340 aircraft. The second part was a bit trickier. Air Canada has undergone a fleet rationalization exercise that saw the 18 seat Beech 1900 aircraft phased out across the network. The replacement aircraft is a 50 passenger Dash 8. While this resulted in increased daily capacity serving Medicine Hat, the reduction in frequency from 4 per day to 2 per day poses a challenge for some business travelers. However, with a second airline and larger aircraft, the opportunity exists for the City to host large gatherings, conferences and conventions, which in the past was limited by air service capacity.
Airline attraction and retention is an ongoing process. Measures to promote existing air services and get travelers out of their cars will continue, as will data gathering and passenger surveys to determine travel needs and present it to air carriers, both current and potential. The Chamber is an important partner in air service development and we look forward to continuing the effort.
Airport by the Numbers
Airlines : 2 Air Canada and WestJet with 1-stop service to the world
2017 – 35,183
2018 – 55,352
2019 – 75,000 (est.)
Daily Airline Seats Between Medicine Hat and Calgary
2017 - 144
2019 - 404
Update provided by: Jeff Huntus, Airport Manager