Goose
Topic Author
Posts: 1771
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 3:40 am

YEG - The Future Of Canada's Gateway To The North

Tue Jan 27, 2004 2:52 am

This was posted in another thread.... and my reply quickly became volumous, so I figured I might as well start a new thread, as it was an entirely different discussion;

http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/read.main/1369699/6/

Goose: say what you will about YEG, at least by design, there are public observation points on the mezzanine level of the north terminal. Although part of it had been notched out to accomodate an office, it's there.

You'll notice that I have very little to complain about when it comes to YEG's terminal; the only thing I have to comment about is the fact that the Edmonton Airports Authority has adopted a "if you build it, they will come" with regards to their rather large International wing. They built the wing despite the fact that WestJet's facilities at YEG were rather lacking at the time.... and the fact that WestJet puts more people through YEG in a month than the airport has to and from International destinations in one year.

My biggest issue with Edmonton International is that the airport is really in Leduc, not Edmonton..... and cab fare used to be murderous from YEG to downtown Edmonton. I also hear complaints about the "V" position of the airport's runways from friends who work for the NavCanada centre up there.....

Now... don't get me wrong, I think YEG's facility is great. It's just in the wrong place. I just think it was poorly executed, and the current management hasn't done as much as it could to do the best of a bad situation - they keep trying to go head-to-head with YYC and losing out, whether it be service from CP, AC or whichever other carrier. Really, Edmonton should be marketing itself as the "Gateway to the North".... in other words, a regional hub. Both of the major airports in Alberta - YYC and YEG - should work to promote one of them forward as the province's "International Gateway."

YYC already takes the lead in that regard.... I don't see a reason for the sixth- or seventh-largest airport in Canada (YEG) and the third- or fourth-largest (YYC) trying to compete over a rather limited International pie.... neither airport has the market available to attract big carriers and international routes on its own.
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
yegbey01
Posts: 1349
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:04 am

RE: YEG - The Future Of Canada's Gateway To The North

Tue Jan 27, 2004 3:59 am

Goose,

Let me tell you one thing about the Edmonton market. But just one correction. YEG is the no 5 air port in Canada .. not 6 or 7. It has at least one million more passenger than YOW, YWG and YHZ

First off,
Edmonton suffered its first blow when YYC redesigned its airport in preparation for the Olympics. Way back then, there wasn't too much "Competition" like there is now. Edmonton was also operating two airports. You could catch flights to YVR and YXE from YXD prior to consolidation. This led to Edmonton being a strict O&D market.

Second, CP, being a YYC based carrier, it made so much sense to them to consolidate out of YYC. Now you could argue and say.. why didn't Air Canada took advantage of the availability of YEG? Simply put, bad management. At that time, Airports were still operated by the government ( No need to talk about how effective they are... or were anyway)

When I was still living in Edmonton, we proposed a very strategic project to the YEG management. The reality was.. They were a bunch of bureaucrats... They thought the airlines would come to them instead of being proactive. In the meanwhile, YYC was working hard to get new carriers. (I actually did some work for YYC when I was still working for a consulting firm in Edmonton).. Let me tell ya... the YYC management is smart a d tey know what they want to achieve. YEG keeps on whining about YYC getting all the new flights.

When you take into account that the YEG catchment are is just over 1 million, their numbers are great (almost 4 million pax). Here's a very easy comparison, Montreal has a population of 3.5 million and a catchment area of more than 4 million. They only draw 9 million passengers (YUL and YMX).

So YEG has the passengers and when you consider that about 15 to 20% of TEG pax go through YYC, you can see that YYC is quite dependent on YEG (they would never admit it though).

As far as YEG being the gateway to the North... What's the population of the North anyway. They have 6 flights a day to YZF... Isn't that enough...

But YEG is getting more flights. HP is adding more flights. Air Canada keeps saying .. load is there but no yield. I don't know what kind of yield AC has on the YHZ-LHR flight. Just don't get how a city like YEG with a GDP per capita that is (40%) higher than the national average could not produce yields better than YHZ. But then again, why is Air Canada losing money. Something's wrong with their finance people.
 
yegspotter
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 4:15 am

RE: YEG - The Future Of Canada's Gateway To The North

Tue Jan 27, 2004 4:30 am

I agree with some of Yegbey01's comments. There seems to be a lot of "politics" in play when it comes to YEG - some internally within Edmonton Airports Authority, and some from other sources (like Air Canada). Unfortunately, YEG always seems to be trying to play catch-up with YYC, for many reasons - like the fact that two airports were operating for many years out of Edmonton. That issue seems to have resolved itself, yet some airlines still seem to be reluctant to add flights (especially international flights) into Edmonton. This I don't understand. There is most certainly the population base in the Edmonton area to support more international flights (just under 1 million people within 1/2 hour drive of the city) Yes, Calgary does support a larger population, but not by as much as some people think. Now, I'm certainly not an expert in economics, nor do I pretend to know everything within the airline industry, but, if the population of an area is any indicator whatsoever, I think some of the airlines may want to take a closer look at Edmonton (especially Air Canada). America West has added flights to YEG recently - they were having tremendous success with the Edmonton-Phoenix route, so they added a daily flight from Edmonton to Las Vegas (starting in March) - why can't Air Canada capitalize on this, and provide some much needed international routes to the people in Edmonton??

Anyhow, more related to the actual topic of this thread, I think the design of YEG is quite good. The location is poor though, unless you live on the south side of Edmonton. Yes, the international terminal is large (and pretty much empty most of the time), but I think this was a proactive move. Wishful thinking?? maybe... Time will tell.....




 
yegbey01
Posts: 1349
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:04 am

RE: YEG - The Future Of Canada's Gateway To The North

Tue Jan 27, 2004 4:39 am

Yegspotter,

As you know, they are building Anthony Henday and that will make it really easy for everyone who lives in the Westend (St albert). Poeple that live in the northeast. They can take Highway 14 all the way down to Whitemud...


Yes.. it is a out of the way.. But the new terminal is great. And last time I was in Edmonton, I saw so much development south of 23 Ave. So soo it will look like it's part of the city
 
yegspotter
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 4:15 am

RE: YEG - The Future Of Canada's Gateway To The North

Tue Jan 27, 2004 5:02 am

Yegbey01

I live on the south side of Edmonton, and yes, you are right - the city is sprawling ever closer to YEG each year. In fact, I can see the beacon on top of the control tower from my house!! Anthony Henday Drive is still two years from completion, and yes, it will provide quicker access for the northsiders, and the folks in St. Albert. I believe the original intent of the airport being where it is, was to allow for significant growth of the city, yet still allow some measure of safety (and lack of noise) to the city of Edmonton. Granted, they may have placed the airport a little too far outside the city (back in the 60's), but as you mentioned, the city is growing fast - especially on the south side. I guess, those who gripe about the airport being too far away could always move to Leduc!! (They would probably complain about the noise out there though... some people are just never happy...)

Cheers...
 
kevin
Posts: 1021
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2000 5:03 am

RE: YEG - The Future Of Canada's Gateway To The North

Tue Jan 27, 2004 5:15 am

I've been living in Edmonton for three years now and one thing I always notice is how empty the airport is most of the time. I just came recently from Vancouver and man let me tell you you could "fire a canon". What really amazed me is when on Sep 11th you had 4 aircraft grounded in Edmonton 2 United 777s, one Air France 777 and a BA 744 they were parked in a remote area of the airport. Only than I realized how big this airport is (area wise) and how underused it is. Arriving in the evening and seeing all these hallways empty and the staff almost sleeping on the counters. Sad sight.

Edmonton does have a lot of potential . According to some sources it is the fastest growing city in Canada. However if I was the decision maker in one of the major airlines and I* had a choice of Calgary or Edmonton I would go for Calgary. Just because its bigger and most of the corporate headquarters are there. Correct me if I am wrong.

Good luck to Edmonton anyway.
 
yegbey01
Posts: 1349
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:04 am

RE: YEG - The Future Of Canada's Gateway To The North

Tue Jan 27, 2004 5:30 am

Kevin,

There are time when even the businest airports in the world seem empty.

YEG, is usually very buy in the mornings. There are quite a few flights during AM on weekdays. And there are quite a few flights arriving later in the evenings.

That's why you need to have an airport with enough gates to accomodate the peak hours. The new south terminal, is designed to handle future volumes of traffic. Also, Edmonton doesn't get connecting passengers. Strictly O&D.

In terms of YYC vs YEG. YYC has more corporate offices so they need more flights. But YEG is a vrey good market for LCC's. This is why America West is adding another flight to LAS starting in March. But when you consider that YEG is stricyly O&D and that YYC gets so many transit pax (who get counted twice each way they go through the airport)..YYC's numbers are quite inflated.

I live in Toronto and this year I had to go through YYC twice on my way to Edmonton. Not by choice, but thanks to the schedules (AC flies to Phoenix from YYC) and runs only one seasonal flight to YUL...So the airlines are creating the extra demand for YYC. Unfortunately, WestJet is not expanding YEG services too.

 
kevin
Posts: 1021
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2000 5:03 am

RE: YEG - The Future Of Canada's Gateway To The North

Tue Jan 27, 2004 5:37 am

Yegbey:

You said it right. Edmonton is a morning city in every aspect. For those of you who haven't been here but are planning to come. You will see how busy the city (well at least downtown) is during morning time and how deserted it is evening and night. Edmonton downtown is absolutely dead after 6pm.
Even the guy who is running for mayor right now (not sure about his name) talks about attracting more leisure businesses to downtown , because he says the evening scene in downtown pushes visitors away. It would push me away if I did not have to live here.
 
yegspotter
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 4:15 am

RE: YEG - The Future Of Canada's Gateway To The North

Tue Jan 27, 2004 6:08 am

Kevin,

This is completely off the topic now, but I'm sure you're aware of this. There's three words that explain why downtown Edmonton is dead after 6:00 PM - "WEST EDMONTON MALL". No one goes downtown to shop anymore, especially since the world's largest shopping center is in the west end. A more vibrant downtown core is sorely needed in Edmonton - in fact, it would likely draw more tourists, and eventually more flights to YEG - There!! I made reference to the topic!!...  Smile

Cheers

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