Provincial government eliminates Executive Air service

The chopping block: Which Sask. workers are getting cut in advance of budget

Starting today, Executive Air will be a thing of the past.

Since 1965, the provincial government has used the air service to fly MLAs, the lieutenant-governor and senior government officials across the province.

However, the provincial government is in the process of whittling down a $1.2-billion deficit, and it was decided the service was no longer needed.

"The use of Executive Air has dropped dramatically over the past decade but overhead costs have remained high," wrote Minister of Central Services Christine Tell in a news release.  

"It just doesn't make sense in these challenging fiscal times to continue paying those high overhead costs when there are viable commercial options available in Saskatchewan to meet government travel needs."

Air travel decreasing

According to the ministry, air travel has already been significantly curtailed. There were only 165 flights in 2016, compared to 595 flights 10 years ago.

Tell said that when MLAs need to fly across the province, they will look for the lowest-cost commercial option.

The provincial government estimates the move will save between $700,000 and $1 million.

The two aircraft owned by the service will be sold immediately. All employees of Executive Air were told about the decision Thursday.

The Saskatchewan Air Ambulance will continue, with no changes to its service.

In the last provincial election, the opposition NDP raised selling Executive Air as a way to save money.