The City of Cold Lake is working on securing a Canadian Air Travel Security Authority Act (CATSA) designation for the Medley Terminal, which would bring commercial air service to the City. The designation is basically rules and security assurances an airport must abide by. Should the airport receive a CATSA designation than passengers would be able to check their bags in Cold Lake and the bags would be routed wherever they’re end destination was, without having to re-check the bags at a larger airport; for example if someone had a connector flight in Calgary the baggage would remain checked ans continue to the final destination.
“This has been a journey since 2013,” Mayor of Cold Lake Craig Copeland explains the lengthy process the City has been through to secure the CATSA designation. The Mayor explains it started with City Manager, Kevin Nayoga, travelling to Ottawa to meet the federal Minister of Transportation, Lisa Raitt.
The designation was implemented post-9-11, explains Mayor Copeland, “after 9-11 all the airports with commercial air received a CATSA designation and the Medley terminal wasn’t active with a carrier at the time, so it didn’t get a CATSA designation.” The federal government has been slow handing out the designation to airports since 9-11, explains the Mayor, “So like other airports, in Canada, that wanted commercial air in their communities, we’re kinda stuck.” Over the years, Cold Lake has had oilfield charter planes through the terminal, but not commercial due to the lack of a CATSA designation.
The City has been working hard to secure a CATSA designation, explains Mayor Copeland, “we’ve been lobbying the federal government to look at the policy and change it. Several airports across Canada, they’re called small airports, are going to be allowed to work with the Minister of Transport and be allowed to have commercial air out of their airports.” It’s all about the ensuring security, says Copeland, “the idea is that you’ll have screened passenger and luggage security. The beauty part for residents in the Cold Lake area is you can get on a flight and end up in Phoenix, or where ever, that day.”
Copeland says it’s important to have the corporation of the military at 4-Wing, where the terminal is located, “the Wing Commander is fully on board, 4-Wing is going to be working with the City and we’re just finishing up that agreement.” With the support of the Wing Commander, Colonel EJ Kenny, in line the City is now working on the financial commitment needed to secure the designation. “We’re in talks with the minister [of transportation] to find out what it’s going to cost to bring CATSA to the Medley terminal.”
The cost of the CATSA designation would be the responsibility of the City of Cold Lake, which Mayor Copeland says the City is prepared to cover, all that’s left is a dollar value. Once the cost is determined, Cold Lake will be able to secure the terminal with the CATSA designation and bring commercial air service to the City.
Mayor Copeland says the City has a commercial airline in mind to service the area, “we are re-engaging a commercial airline that we have a non-disclosure agreement with from a couple of years ago. We’ll dust off that piece of paper and try to get them back to the table to see if they are interested in doing a route to Calgary.” The City will try to secure the Cold Lake-Calgary route, confirms Copeland. ‘
Mayor Copeland says the goal is for the City to have the CATSA designation in place with commercial air service within the 2016 year.