Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Delta flights links Saskatoon to Salt Lake City

Saskatoon will be directly connected to Salt Lake City this summer, via a daily Delta Air Lines flight.

Starting July 18 and until the end of August, Delta will fly a CRJ 50-seat jet between the Utah capital and Saskatoon seven days a week.

The flights depart Salt Lake City at 10 a.m., arriving in Saskatoon at 12:30 p.m. The flights then leave Saskatoon at 1:30 p.m., arriving in Salt Lake City at 3:55 p.m.

In October and November, Delta will operate a larger jet on weekends to connect the two cities. That flight will accommodate people coming to Saskatchewan for the hunting season.

Bill Restall, president and CEO of the Saskatoon Airport Authority, noted Delta and Northwest airlines are merging and combining their schedules, but still decided to add Saskatoon to the summer schedule. He had talked with the Atlanta, Ga.-based company about adding the Salt Lake City flight more than a year ago.

Restall said he expected the airlines would be looking at consolidating their existing routes, instead of adding new ones.

"They surprised us and actually looked at the routes," he said.

Restall said he would be talking to them about expanding the flights to year-round service, but that will partly depend on how well-sold the flights are.

Salt Lake City is the major western hub for Delta, and will serve people from the southwestern and western United States, he noted.

"They've been obviously looking at their bookings and where people are coming from, that are coming to Saskatoon through their Minneapolis hub. They're looking at a better way to facilitate that . . . and accommodate demand."

The new flight gives Saskatoon three flights a day from the "new" Delta -- two to Minneapolis and one, at least temporarily, to Salt Lake City. United Airlines flies two to Denver and one to Chicago from Saskatoon.

"We have extensive access to the United States and those route networks," said Restall. "As we looked to expand our system, and our flow from Saskatoon, those are the four closest hubs that exist to Saskatoon.

"We're just delighted," he added. "For them to look at any expansion service while you're doing consolidation and rationalization, it speaks very well of what they see as potential in our market."

Delta has acquired Northwest, and will gradually phase out the Northwest brand. The two airlines have been working on the amalgamation since last year.