Attention no passengers

The private jets that transport Alberta bigwigs are so private they often fly empty


Like so many politicians these days, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach has warned his province to prepare for drastic spending cuts to cope with the tanking economy. Here’s a suggestion, Mr. Premier: scrap your private jet. Or at least make sure somebody’s actually on board when it takes off. According to the latest figures, the fleet of taxpayer-funded planes that ferries cabinet ministers, MLAs and the lieutenant-governor around Alberta flew empty 230 times last year. In other words, the jets logged more than 65,000 kilometers without a single passenger—the equivalent of flying around the world one and a half times. Among the worst frequent fliers was Lt.-Gov. Norman Kwong, who often hitched a ride to his Calgary home, and then sent the plane back to Edmonton with only the pilots. Try Air Canada, Mr. Kwong. They can certainly use the business during these troubled times.

The Calgary Herald

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Attention no passengers

  1. Actually, none of the four planes is a jet; all are turbo-props.

    I have no idea whether that makes them cheaper to operate.

    • Cost-per-km depends on a lot of factors, so there’s no way to just say yes or no on this. Often, props are cheaper, but they are also often slower, meaning more time in the air, more salary for the crew, or even more landings if the range is not high enough for the specific trip.

      Age and design matter too: check the mileage on a Dash-8 versus the newer Q400s from Bombardier (essentially, the modern Dash-8). Big differences.