Wednesday, November 25, 2009

September pax stats are in, it is the first month to see positive growth in 2009

The Calgary Airport Authority has published their September 2009 passengers statistics on the website and for the first time this year, a month has eclipsed its numbers from 2008. September of this year saw a total of 1,003,900 passengers, a 3.2% gain over the same time last year. September of 2008 just happened to be the first month of negative numbers in over 2.5 years if not more and was the first sign of constant declines due to all of the economic woes and H1N1 scares over the past year. Since that time, the only other month that saw a slight increase was December 2008 at 0.8%. The 3.2% gain seen this September should be proof that the we are coming out of the economic downturn although I won't say that 100% until we see a few more months of positve numbers.

Breaking down the numbers, you see that all the gains came in the domestic market while Transborder and International saw declines, but the 6.9% gain domestically proved large enough to provide for the systemwide gain in YYC's numbers.

Overall for 2009 YYC is 3.8% lower then in 2008 for the first 9 months with 9,201,676 passengers passing through the airport.

Here are the numbers:
Domestic: 746,398 (+6.9%)
Transborder: 173,538 (-3.3%)
International: 83,964 (-11.6%)

Source YYC Passenger Statistics

Friday, November 20, 2009

WestJet delays the launch of their Frequent Flyer program

According to an article in the Financial Post the highly anticipated launch of WestJet's Frequent Flyer program has now been pushed back to 2010. Latest reports had the program launching late November/early December but due to the ongoing issues with WestJet's new reservation system that date has been changed to January. WestJet wants to make sure their new reservation system is stable and working properly before launching the program.

The program itself that has been delayed numerous times is taking a page out of the Travel Rewards Credit Card industry by allowing members to redeem points for full or partial travel with no black out dates. Basically you will put your points/dollars (the proper term for WestJet's reward currency has not been released yet) towards the purchase of any ticket at the going rate from WestJet. Many Travel Point and Hybird Credit card programs do the same, for example redeeming 5000 points for a $50 credit towards any travel that is booked. Of course the more points/dollars you have the bigger the discount towards that travel.

What is good about programs like these is that you don't have to have a lot of points to redeem and get some sort of reward versus the set point programs like most frequent flyer programs where you need a minimum amount of points to redeem for a flight.

The main downfall of the credit card type or WestJet type of program is that value is lost when you have to redeem for expensive/non-seat sale flights as you may have to redeem more points versus the set point programs which require the same amount of points for a flight regardless of what it is selling for (of course this is the best case scenario not taking into account black out dates, availability etc)

We will continue to keep you up to date on all the happenings with the WestJet program as soon as they are released and like many of our readers we wait with anticipation.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mexicana increases Calgary-Mexico City service

More good news for YYC came from Mexicana Airlines as they announced the addition of a 5th weekly flight between our city and Mexico City. The airline moved to consolidate its services in Alberta by cutting service to Edmonton and putting their focus into Calgary. There was some speculation about the viability of the YYC and YEG routes earlier in the year when Canada imposed Visa requirements on Mexican residents. At that time Mexicana stated they would continue the routes and evaluate them on an ongoing basis with a decision on their fates by Decemeber, and Mexicana stayed true to their word by making the decision to focus on Calgary.

Source: YYC

Air Canada announces Calgary-Tokyo service

Well it is official and all the speculation can end now as Air Canada today announced direct non-stop Calgary to Tokyo service beginning March 27, 2010. As mentioned in our previous post, the flight will initially run 3x weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Air Canada will operate the new non-stop service with fully refurbished 211-seat Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft offering a choice of Economy Class and Executive First service featuring 24 lie-flat bed suites.

Flight Timings:
Calgary-Tokyo Dep 1220 Arr 1400+1
Tokyo-Calgary Dep 1600 Arr 1045

Source: Air Canada Press Release

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Double Aeroplan Miles for the new Calgary-Hawaii non-stops

To promote the new non-stop service from Calgary to Honolulu and Maui, Aeroplan is offering double miles on the new non-stop Air Canada flights between Dec 5 and Jan 31, 2010. You have to register for the promotion (see link below)

Offer is valid with the following fare options (booking classes):

* Executive Class Lowest/Flexible (J, C, D, Z)
* Latitude (Y, B)
* Tango Plus (M, U, H, Q, V, W, S, L, A)
* R class (Executive Class Upgrades)

Register for the promo on

Monday, November 16, 2009

Korean Air charters return to Calgary for Summer 2010 - This time Calgarians can buy tickets for the service

Korean Air will be returning to Calgary for summer 2010 with 3x weekly charter flights from Seoul. Korean last flew this charter route in the summer of 2008. At that time the bilateral agreement between Korea and Canada only allowed for ticket sales from Korea. However since that time the agreement between Canada and Korea has changed and Calgarians (or anyone else for that matter) can now buy tickets for the Korean Airlines flights originating in Calgary. I have done some dummy bookings on a few travel websites and the charter flights do show up and are pricing around C$1800 all in for a round-trip to Seoul (in comparison a two stop with Northwest is just over C$1000). One drawback is that the flights are only operating for one month from July 25th to Aug 26th.

Flights are as follows:
KE2075 ICN-YYC 1820-1400 Tu Th Su
KE2076 YYC-ICN 1600-1830+1 Tu Th Su

I would like to thank reader Aaron S. for giving me the insight on this topic.

Friday, November 13, 2009

US Destination Travel Advisory - Customs Clearance limited to 2 hours prior to departure

The YYC website has posted a travel advisory on their website that as Nov 9 passengers will only be allowed through US Customs 2 hours prior to their departure time. This does not seem like too big of deal for most people except for those who want to make the most of the new Rocky Mountain lounge that opened up in Concourse C. This will dramatically shorten the available loung time for lounge users and may actually deter people from using the lounge. I know I wouldn't enjoy parting with nearly $30 per person for a 1 - 1.5 hr lounge visit (taking into consideration the time to get through customs and to get to the gate to board). Normally these pay for use lounges allow you in 3 hours prior to depature which gives an effective usage time of 2.5hrs assuming you go to your gate half hour prior to departure.

This may also lead to some confusion as the Servisair site shows that you can still enter the lounge 3 hours prior, so someone who has not seen the advisory on the YYC website may be met with a surprise when they can't enjoy the full amount time they thought they paid for.

I'd like to hear comments from anyone who may have flown this past week from YYC to the U.S. to see if this new policy is being enforced and what you think of the policy. You can leave your comments below.

Further speculation abounds about Air Canada launching Calgary-Tokyo service

Once again, according to Airline Route Updates who are quoting a Japanese article, Air Canada may be eying a three time weekly service between Calgary and Tokyo for Summer 2010. The Japanese article states that Air Canada will be gaining 3 additional slots at Tokyo Narita during the summer season and that Calgary is "in the running lead" for those extra slots.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 website revamped

The Calgary Airport Authority totally redesigned their website at recently and I must say it looks really sharp. The red, white and gray colors of the new site are pulled straight from the YYC logo and are easy on the eyes. The site itself is very easy to navigate with the drop down menus and a more powerful flight search (FIDS) where you can choose to see all the arriving and departing flights or just see flights by airline, route, date or time. All of these features are placed high enough that even on low resolution they are above the scroll on the users screen. Another nice change is the move away from PDF files for media releases and passenger statistics. While most visitors don't care so much about this, people like myself who blog about the airport find it nice not to have to load those files.

The only problem I can find with the site is that the interactive terminal maps don't work properly if you are using Firefox or Mac's Safari as they do not show the locations of the services and amenities. However they do work fine in Internet Explorer and are really useful and fun to use.

All in all, the new website is nice to look at, easy to use and a great improvement over the previous incarnation.

Check it out at

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fly British Airways from Calgary to the UK or beyond and earn a Complimentary Companion Ticket

When you book a flight and travel on or before January 29, 2010, you'll receive a complimentary companion ticket* which can be used in conjunction with your next purchased ticket. You and your companion can travel in any cabin, to any of the over 300 destinations British Airways flies to worldwide. Book your ticket and your companion ticket from January 4 through July 30, 2010 and travel from January 11 through December 15, 2010
Full Details Online Registration and Booking

* Must book a round-trip transatlantic ticket in qualifying World Traveller (Y, B, H), World Traveller Plus (W, E), Club World (J, C, D, R) or First (F, A) fares

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Save 10% on Air Canada flights to Asia with Visa

Exclusive offer! Save 10% when you pay with your Visa card

Take advantage of this exclusive offer. Check back often for new offers.

Save 10% on our flights to Asia** Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo.

Travel until March 31, 2010! To get your exclusive discount, simply enter this promotion code when booking and pay with your VISA card: 4CTNM2E1

Offer ends November 30, 2009.

This offer is available on new bookings only. The discount applies exclusively right here at on Air Canada published Tango Plus, Latitude, Executive Class fares when you pay with your Visa card and cannot be combined with any other offer.

Full Details