Calgary

Calgary charter Enerjet offers to fly Syrian refugees to Canada

Enerjet says it has aircraft and expertise to move people internationally and within Canada.

Airline says it has low operating costs

Calgary-based charter airline Enerjet is offering its aircraft to the federal government to help get Syrian refugees to Canada. (Enerjet)

A Calgary charter airline says it can help the federal government fly some of the 25,000 Syrian refugees it's promised to bring to Canada by the end of the year.

Darcy Morgan, the chief commercial officer of Enerjet, says the company has the capability to fly people both internationally and within Canada.

"We have not only aircraft, but logistics people and expertise in moving people around," said Morgan. "Canada has a long history in helping others in need and Albertans, and in particular Calgarians, are a big part of that. We thought it was important to put our hand up."

He estimates it will take dozens of flights to bring Syrian refugees from various launch points in Europe to Canada and the federal government will need commercial airlines to step up.

Air Canada has already offered to help. In a statement to CBC News, a company spokesperson said the airline has so far only exchanged "preliminary information" with Ottawa.

The Trudeau government has not yet accepted Enerjet's offer. The company said it made "multiple attempts" over the last week to contact federal politicians in Ottawa.

So far, it has only heard from Calgary Centre MP, Kent Hehr who is "enthusiastic" about the idea, says Morgan.

Recession frees up planes

With thousands of layoffs happening in Alberta's oil and gas sector, Enerjet says it does have more planes on hand right now.

"We are here in Calgary in the heart of the recession. Enerjet has at times, relied on the oil patch for some of our business. So at this point, yes, we do have more aircraft available than we might otherwise have."

Morgan wouldn't say if Enerjet will offer its services for free to Immigration Canada.

"It terms of exactly how it's funded, I think that's up to the federal government."

However, he says Enerjet has some of the lowest operating costs of any airline in the country and it could be cheaper for the government to use their aircraft over a larger airline.

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