Filling the Pointy End

Monday was a great day for the Edmonton Region. After three weeks of rumors swirling around the city, Edmonton International Airport (YEG) was delighted to announce a new non-stop flight to Amsterdam (AMS) beginning May 5th 2015, operated by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

This is good news.

Tremendous work goes into securing direct flights for the region, spearheaded by CEO Tom Ruth and his team at EIA in tight coordination with Mayor Don Iveson’s office, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, the Province of Alberta, Travel Alberta, Leduc County and our Edmonton Tourism and Enterprise Edmonton teams at EEDC.

Common Objective. Unified Voice.

Businesses can move people, goods and ideas faster to markets around the globe as a result of direct air access, and tourists can flow back and forth between destinations. Amsterdam was identified by Edmontonians as one of the most effective hubs into Europe, Africa and the Middle East … and it was delivered for your benefit.

Now, it is your turn.

There are three parts to every airplane – the pointy end (business class), the back end (economy class) and the underbelly (cargo) – all of which combine to determine the yield (return) on each flight. I never gave this too much thought, until I started understanding what it takes to secure new routes … and most importantly, what it takes to keep the routes we work so hard to secure.

And, our businesses have a big role to play.

If we don’t fill the pointy end of the plane … the business class … and we don’t ship our products from Edmonton International Airport … the cargo … then direct flights will be near impossible to maintain by travelers simply going to Expedia and clicking on the cheapest fare.

So, here’s what I’m asking you to do this week in your business:

– Explore whether you are trucking products to other airports before they head overseas;
– Explore whether you have a “fly economy” policy on international flights; and
– Explore whether you have a “direct flights first” policy that helps support your community.

This is a simple, but profoundly important request, folks. I respect that we are still living in the residue of extreme frugalness due to certain people abusing public funds … but we actually need to step up our commitment to these new direct flights in order to continue to build an economy of competitiveness and prosperity.

Play your part. You have an important role.

Thank you.

Nothing. No Force on Earth …

This is not the blog I was planning on writing.

I was planning to write about the imperative of direct air service in and out of Edmonton that allows the economic engine of Canada to operate at its fullest potential. I was planning to write about the youngest, fastest growing region in Canada that is served by an Edmonton International Airport experiencing the highest growth in all categories among all competitors. I was planning to write about a $78 billion local economy and a 1,200,000 population that is growing at twice the speed of the rest of the country. And I was planning to write about, not just our need but the entire country’s need, for us to have direct market access for people, products and capital if we want our collective economy to grow.

I was going to rant … yes rant … maybe even rage. Rage against decades of protecting our national airline with taxpayer dollars only to have it turnaround and force everyone to fly through Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver. Rage against a protectionist transport policy that prevents new carriers from new destinations with new routes to be easily established to meet growing demand. Rage against airlines cancelling high-demand routes while claiming they are uneconomical. And rage against the very punitive, monopolistic behaviours that prevent Canadian companies from becoming global players, and that prevent Canadian businesses and consumers from having choices.

But I am not.

What I want to write about is the amazing, coordinated, rapid response that can be unleashed when our City and Capital Region comes under attack. A response within 90 minutes between the Mayor’s office, Edmonton Airport, EEDC and the Chamber … that charges out across the country … that links every business, political and community leader in a unified voice … to stand armed and ready to defend any malicious action by any organization against this community.

Nothing … no force on earth … can stop a City whose time has come. And nothing … no flight or pipeline will prevent us from connecting our people and products with the world.