Sunday, April 01, 2012

Brandon lands passenger air service?

The teasing tweet came today at 6:54 a.m. proclaiming: "Brandon Lands Passenger Air Service."

And once the link to the city’s website was clicked, readers were presented with a photo of the mayor dolled up to look like an extra from the Pan Am TV series.

"Mayor Shari Decter Hirst is pleased to announce that the City of Brandon has signed a deal for regular scheduled air service with Pan Am Airlines to start today, April 1st. This major accomplishment ‘came out of the blue’ or maybe more appropriately ‘from thin air’," the text from the website read.

"As the City of Brandon has been lobbying Air Canada and WestJet to make themselves at home in Southwestern Manitoba, Mayor Shari got a call and the rest is history!"

It was an April Fool’s prank designed to attract both the attention of the public, and to show the city is being creative about making a serious bid for air service, Decter Hirst told The Sun.

The move came on the heels of the city’s petition to attract WestJet air service soaring past the 10,000-signature mark last week.

Decter Hirst said last week they are "absolutely ecstatic" to have reached such a milestone in less than two months.

The petition launched on Feb. 8 in an effort to help demonstrate the strong market for regular air service.

Support in the form of signatures has been coming in from people not only in Westman, but across Canada and around the world.

A WestJet representative said last week the airline is still in the "very early stages of this process," with the current focus on the selection of a regional aircraft.

"It’s great to see the enthusiasm of your community," wrote Jennifer Sanford, WestJet media relations advisor in an email to the Sun.

The city is maintaining regular contact with the airline, and continues to build up its business case.


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