For years, the University of Alberta and Edmonton International Airport (YEG) have enjoyed a fruitful relationship, mutually promoting everything from student and staff recruitment to economic growth.
Now that partnership has been formalized with a new memorandum of understanding between the two organizations that, among other things, will see the creation of a joint committee to annually plan for and track the progress of a number of shared interests.
The partnership will be led by Myron Keehn, vice-president of air service, business development, ESG and stakeholder relations with YEG, and Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell, interim dean of the U of A’s College of Natural and Applied Sciences, who will meet regularly to “strengthen connections between the two organizations and identify opportunities for collaboration.”
YEG has long been an ally in the U of A’s efforts, says Kalcounis-Rueppell. In addition to procuring flights, ensuring students are aware of flight packages and helping welcome international students, for example, the airport understands the importance of direct routes from Edmonton to major European and U.S. centres.
“It’s really important for our researchers to have that direct flight into Edmonton,” says Kalcounis-Rueppell. “When we’re trying to recruit researchers from across the world, it matters that we can say there are direct flights to ports in Europe.
“And when we’re recruiting Canadian students to PhD programs, those students are also looking to make sure Edmonton is a good place for them to network with their international peers.”