Saint John hopes to land new airlines
Saint John Airport officials are in Halifax on Monday attempting to woo new airlines to the southern New Brunswick city.
Bernard LeBlanc, the president and chief executive officer of the Saint John Airport, will be attending the biennial Altitudes East conference, which brings airports and airlines together.
LeBlanc said he has meetings scheduled with eight different carriers to discuss the options of bringing them to Saint John.
And while he only has 18 minutes to make his sales pitch to each carrier, LeBlanc said he's optimistic about his chances of landing another airline that will fly out of Saint John.
By attracting more airlines to the city, LeBlanc said it will keep passengers from heading to other airports to catch flights.
"From our perspective, we do have a great opportunity. We only have one carrier here right now," he said.
"We do have a lot of leakage to other markets. So we view capturing that leakage, keeping it here as an opportunity. But also, I think, there's a lot of enthusiasm in our market for new routes, new service, new destinations."
LeBlanc said he plans to talk to Porter Airlines about setting up shop in the city.
He said he will also talk to Air Canada about expanding existing service with new routes, new aircrafts or new times.
But it isn’t simply domestic airlines that Saint John is trying to lure to the airport.
LeBlanc said he hopes to land a carrier that will fly into the United States.
"A U.S. destination is something we'd definitely like to have. We think we're underserved in New Brunswick in terms of U.S. service," he said.
"There's only one airport in New Brunswick with one U.S. destination, so that's something we think we should be able to do a lot better on, so we'll keep working on that."
Right now, the only U.S. service in New Brunswick is the Continental Airlines flight from the Moncton airport to Newark.