The arrival of Flair Airlines at Lethbridge, Alta., airport is once again in a holding pattern.
The city announced the low-cost carrier’s route between Lethbridge and Tucson, Ariz., will not be taking off this year as previously planned.
“The city — like the community and the region, I think — is disappointed to hear that Flair is not doing the Tucson operations this winter,” said Jason Elliott, director of corporate services for the City of Lethbridge.
Lethbridge to Tucson flight postponed to December 2023
As recently as May, Flair chief commercial officer Garth Lund told media the route was still expected to begin this winter.
The airline confirmed to Global News they will not be operating service to Tucson this year, but did not give a reason for the delay.
“Flair Airlines reaffirms our commitment to ongoing discussions with Lethbridge regarding future service and we eagerly await the opportunity to deliver services to the community,” a Flair spokesperson told Global News in a statement.
According to city officials, the airport needs to grow in order to make room for the bigger planes that will be used.
“Expansion of the terminal to accommodate large numbers of passengers, but equally as important to be able to land a fully-loaded and fuelled 737, we need a runway expansion,” Elliott said.
This is now the second delay for the route.
Flair was initially supposed to start operating out of Lethbridge in December 2022, but takeoff was postponed for a year, with supply chain issues the reason given by officials.
Flair Airlines announces new route in Lethbridge
The airline said it was waiting on the city to secure a boarding ramp big enough for a Boeing 737.
That ramp is expected to be delivered this fall as the city continues updating the airport in anticipation of future cross-border flights.
“We remain optimistic that we’ll get something going here soon that we can be happy to announce to the community and region,” Elliott said.
Advocacy efforts are underway to other levels of government regarding airport expansion, but as for when that will happen and any new service can be operating, no timeline is in place, leaving the future of the Lethbridge to Tucson route up in the air.
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