Wednesday, April 15, 2009

And the sky is still blue

The Alberta Enterprise Group continued its fight to keep the Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA) open, this week.

They loaded up two planes with reporters and photographers and held what was called the Great Airport Race. The plan? The two planes would take off from the ECCA, fly up toward Westlock, Alberta and head back to Edmonton. One plane would land at the City Centre and the other would touch down just south of the city at the Edmonton Internationl Airport (EIA).

The reporters et al. would then race by cab to downtown Edmonton. You'd think the name of the airports alone would have told you which one was closer. One is named "City Centre" which leads me to believe it would be in or near a downtown area.

Not surprisingly, it took longer to taxi across the larger tarmac of the EIA and then get a cab ride up from Leduc. It also is not surprising to learn the longer cab ride cost more money. The Edmonton Journal had a balanced take on the race.

I don't doubt a lot of business dealings happen in downtown, since there are lots of office buildings and the Alberta Legislature. So I get why some people want the smaller airport to remain.

Unless they're coming from outside Alberta and likely landing at the EIA anyway. Or if their dealings happen at a business in the south end or somewhere not downtown. I do, however, like the idea of all important business people landing and only having 20 minutes to get to meetings. If that's the case, I wonder if we shouldn't close the City Centre Airport just to help them with time management.

There's also the constant mention of the life and death situation landing air ambulances at the International vs. City Centre poses. I am pretty sure Edmonton hospitals have helipads. The Mazankowski (whenever it opens) is even supposed to have one. I bet heart patients are among urgent cases we keep hearing in the threats.

o conclude my rant against the most obvious of outcomes to a race, here are other things closer to downtown than the Edmonton International Airport, you know, in case the City Centre Airport is closed:

The Greyhound station - Businesses could bus it instead of flying to the EIA.

VIA station - It's already in the city, but only works for people east or west of Edmonton.

Roads - People could drive if the Edmonton International was such a hassle.

And as a bonus - webcams and phones. I hear stuff can be accomplished over these sometimes.

If you're on Twitter you can follow this discussion under the hashtag #ecca. It will be (mostly) free of me rolling my eyes and have comments from lots of smart people.


Ian said...

For business travellers, (esp Calgarian ones), the Greyhond is replaced by the classier Red Arrow. Will be taking that myself tomorrow.

Also, if the airport closed, do you think the AEG would support and demand a high-speed Ed-Cal train?

Jeff said...

A high-speed train (even a normal speed train) doing the Edmonton-Calgary run would be genius. It'd be a long way off with construction though.

To dream...

I totally forgot about Red Arrow!

Looks like things are starting to come up for EIA-haters.

Anonymous said...

I think I ate a crayon... thoughts?