Ah, yes, rebutting the rebuttals. Here I go again:
Fist of all, if my memory is correct I think we agreed some time ago that London, Windsor, Lethbridge, and an assortment of smaller airports tended to be the most underserved. My whole thesis in this is that both Winnipeg and Edmonton are in similar situations in that their traffic patterns are similar (save for YYC and YVR commuter traffic, as noted above) and that both airports have similar gaps that need filling in.
Now, on the question of your noting YEG is closer to YYC than YWG is to MSP. I would have to note that MSP is approximately the same distance from YWG as YQR is (only about 350 miles, closer than you think!). Also, I had in mind (but didn't really state) that we were talking about international/transborder service. Yes, YYC does change YEG's domestic routings, but the effects of YYC and MSP are the same for transborder flights, and they put development of routes somewhat behind what they should be in both Winnipeg and Edmonton.
Also, funny enough you'd mention flying YWG-MSP-YYZ, but actually my friend on the ramp at YYC said he had handled groups flying YYC-MSP-YYZ before, so even though it sounds odd, it does happen!
As you noted, YEG is better placed for north-south routes, which aren't that important as almost all of our population is along the east-west axis. YWG is superbly placed to route traffic along east-west routes, but has been miserably ignored in that potential (other than Greyhound), but hopefully we'll see some connecting traffic built as WestJet grows, as AC now has both feeders into YWG, and of course the charters have also used YWG sometimes to route traffic through. This is one reason why I see good future potential for YWG.
YEG does have twice daily Canadian Regional flights to Saskatoon, but Regina should definitely be a priority for Edmonton Airports to get.
If I was back home in Alberta I'd agree Edmonton's economy is better, but having been here for a while I've noticed a lot of growth (honestly I can barely recognize southwest Winnipeg from 2 years ago, and I lived through that incredible growth in Calgary for the last decade!) so I'm starting to think perhaps Winnipeg is a "silent leader." I just have to say I'm overall quite impressed by the Manitoba economy. Lucky for Alberta we have oil, but these Manitobans have a much more diversified economy. I also wanted to note that YWG is a much more stable and predictable market, it doesn't fluctuate as badly as Edmonton, and that is an advantage. As far as tourism, yeah people go to West Ed, but tourism pales in comparison to that in Calgary, which has proximity to the Royal Tyrell Museum, Fort MacLeod & Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Banff National Park, and so on.
Anyways, to summarize, I think the airports should set the following goals (in order of priority, in my view):
-attract more competition on main routes (really needs 1-stop WJ service to YHM, in my view Edmonton Airports should push hard for that to happen)
-get another major US carrier in (heard that Hudson General had won a contract for AA handling at YYC, YEG and YVR as a group, could that mean AA will fly to YEG, or is it just part of the contract package not necessarily for use?)
-fill in missing regional routes
-grow sked and charter overseas flights
-successfully add RootsAir, CanJet, Transat into YWG service (all already announced), in addition to existing AC/CP, Royal, Canada3000 and WestJet flights on main routes (actually the main YYZ route is looking pretty crowded here, it's about time airlines served it properly, I've heard of lots of people BEFORE the integration who couldn't buy seats to YYZ it was so badly undercapacity, and YWG is VERY attractive to low-fare traffic generation-many more people will fly now with lower fares)
-the underserved regional routes need development, specifically from WestJet to build traffic to Regina, Thunder Bay, and possibly add routes like Montreal or Ottawa non-stop, maybe Lethbridge, etc, to fill in the gaps that are in WJ's network out here
-bolster transborder routes, such as filling in AC's gap to MSP, changing aircraft types to ORD and DEN (due to changes in ACPA contracts it should happen), boosting NW service by adding DTW (there is, I would say, enough traffic), and getting another US carrier in (perhaps RJ's would be a reasonable start). Also, I would like to see (although it's unlikely) a flight to Fargo, North Dakota.
-bolster international traffic, starting with charters as the market probably isn't ready for a lot of sked flights yet, the good news is that there's supposed to be a big increase in seasonal southbound routes this winter
And I think this does, in a round-about way relate to why YWG is ignored by foreign carriers, and how that applies in exactly the same way to YEG.
By the way, Samurai777, regarding the Frankfurt rumours, I remain quite cautious about that because they've said they're getting these routes before, and been wrong, as I'm sure you're aware... I certainly hope they're right this time, but I also hope to see that AA rumour come to fruition too!