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Travel industry, Alberta government call for changes as plane ticket prices rise

Albertans booking summer vacations both near and far are paying a hefty price for plane tickets.

“Prices are not inching up; they are leaping up from what they used to be. They’ve doubled, if not sometimes tripled,” said Jennie Mohamed, manager at Parklane Travel in Calgary.

“I’m afraid to make that announcement to my clients because they are going to say: ‘Are you kidding me?’”

Mohamed, who has more than three decades of experience in the industry, said western Canadians are getting hit especially hard.

“Western Canada has a monopoly mainly of two airlines — we have WestJet and Air Canada — and that was allowed to happen without recourse,” Mohamed said, adding she’s worried the higher costs will stick around.

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“Prices are not liable to go down anytime soon because the airlines have no reason to reduce the prices.”

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WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech is calling for the federal government to review its fee structure. Jeff McIntosh / Canadian Press

WestJet announced this week that it’s in the process of updating basic fair options that could cost less for those who don’t want to bring a carry-on bag.

The airline wants Ottawa to review its fee structure as it calls on the federal government to put measures in place to help lower costs for travellers.

The province said it’s also looking at ways to make air travel more viable across Alberta and is calling on the federal government to do the same.

“We are looking at regional flights in places like Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Grande Prairie,” said Alberta’s Transportation Minister Devin Dreeshen.

He also wants to see more air travel within Alberta.

“These feasibility studies we have given to 10 municipal airports across the province should be in this year just to make sure they can offer better flight options for Albertans.”

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Mohamed is encouraging travellers to look for ways to lower their travel costs by using points and opting for packages whenever possible to offset the rising costs of plane tickets.

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