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JUST THE FACTS: Redford's $15,000 flight was the only option. Or was it?

EDMONTON, AB (February 6, 2014): On the morning of Dec. 8, Premier Alison Redford flew on the Government of Alberta’s King Air plane from Calgary to Ottawa in order to catch Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s flight to South Africa at a cost of $14,992. When asked why she didn’t fly commercial at a much lower price, Redford’s office said the only other option was for her to take a red-eye flight to Ottawa, which would have meant two red-eye flights in a row. (The flight from Ottawa to South Africa was also a red-eye.)

 However, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Here is the flight data for Redford’s Government of Alberta plane flight to Ottawa on Dec. 8 (Notice the Calgary departure time of 6:42 a.m. and the Ottawa arrival time of 2:47 p.m.): Calgary to Winnipeg Winnipeg to Ottawa According to Redford’s office, she had to take the government plane because there were no commercial flights that would have accommodated a morning flight. However, Air Canada operates a Sunday morning route from Calgary to Ottawa at virtually the same time of Redford’s government plane flight. Here is the flight data for Air Canada flights AC8330 and AC8518 from the same morning of Dec. 8 (Again, note the Calgary departure time of 7:29 a.m. and the Ottawa arrival time of 2:05 p.m.) Calgary to Winnipeg (AC8330) Winnipeg to Ottawa (AC8518) This flight would have actually gotten Redford to Ottawa 42 minutes earlier and would have cost $2,382.58 (based on Sunday, Feb. 24 fare) for the most expensive seat in business class, six times less than Redford’s trip on the King Air.  In addition to the 10 business class seats aboard the Bombardier CRJ-705 (900), there are 65 economy class seats available. WestJet also operates a Calgary to Ottawa direct flight on Sunday mornings aboard a 136-seat Boeing 737-700. Here is the flight data for the Dec. 8 flight: Calgary to Ottawa (WJ610) The most expensive fare on that flight is $625.93 (based on Sunday, Feb. 24 fare), 24 times less than Redford’s trip on the King Air. But with no business class seats, the Premier may not have found that flight desirable. If Redford’s office is to be believed, not a single seat on either the 75-seat Air Canada flight or the 136-seat WestJet flight was available for the Premier early on the Sunday morning of Dec. 8, forcing her to board the Government of Alberta’s King Air to Ottawa. The facts suggest that the Premier just wanted her own plane –regardless of the cost.