Skip to main content

Refugee flights highlight need for large aircraft capacity at YQR

It’s rare to have a large scale aircraft touch down in Saskatchewan. Last month, a Boeing 787 brought 230 displaced Ukrainians from Warsaw to Regina. It took extensive planning to accommodate the plane.

“We had to have specialized air stairs brought in from Calgary airport as well as staff flown from across the country to help handle that flight,” James Bogusz, CEO of the Regina Airport Authority, explained.

“So the obstacle we have here is not one of a facility, meaning we can actually land and have these planes take off. It’s really having the right equipment and staffing available here to manage those planes.”

Last week, when the 787 made a second flight from Warsaw, it landed in Edmonton where passengers transferred to two smaller jets for the final leg of the journey to Regina.

Premier Scott Moe feels it‘s important that Saskatchewan’s two major airports be fully equipped for large planes.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Both of our airports in Saskatchewan should be increasing in the capacity and the types of planes that they are able to accept.”

Saskatchewan has signed a memorandum with aircraft owner Enrique Pineyro for three more humanitarian charters from Warsaw. No decision has been made on where those flights will land.

“Well it depends on them. I’d land happily in Edmonton or here. Here the runway is shorter, requires a bit more concentration once you touch down because you need to brake heavily, apply full reverse,” Pineyro explained.

“Other than that it’s a very good runway.”

It takes a sufficient number of large aircraft arrivals to justify equipment purchase and training and is the responsibility of the airlines and ground handling companies.

The premier has said he will continue to work with the federal government to make capacity improvements at Saskatchewan’s two major airports, for commerce and other initiatives like humanitarian flights. Top Stories

Stay Connected