The Lethbridge Airport will be added to the City's directory as a business unit come summertime this year.
City Council passed a resolution on Monday to assume the operations of the airport until a commission or airport authority has been finalized.
Transfer of ownership of the regional airport from Lethbridge County to Lethbridge City occurred in March of 2018. Lethbridge County has been operating the airport on a fee-for-service basis since the transfer occurred. City Manager, Bram Strain, says assuming operations of the airport allows the City to focus on growth and promotion of the airport and its service.
"The Lethbridge Airport has seen an incredible boost in passenger numbers and usage since the addition of another carrier in the summer of last year," says Strain. "Now the City has assumed operational control, we are working on improvements to the infrastructure and are focused on growing the airport and leveraging it as an economic driver."
Mayor Chris Spearman says the increased passenger traffic at the airport is an important economic indicator for the City and its residents.
"Tourism Lethbridge recently reported that passenger traffic has increased by 75 per cent in the last 12 months," says Spearman. "The addition of flights from WestJet has given more options for travel for local residents with larger aircraft now utilizing the regional airport."
Part of the approved resolution also mandates that City administration present a one year budget to Council at the May 15 meeting. Additionally, City administration is to conduct a competitive process to offer oversight for growth and development of the Lethbridge Airport and report to City Council.
Work on the Airport Masterplan has been underway for some time and will shape the way future improvements and services are offered. This plan is expected to be presented to City Council at a future date.
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