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Phoenix-area airport adds international flights to Canada

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PHOENIX — A metro Phoenix airport has signed on to add its first international flights starting early next year.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport will offer three weekly nonstop routes to Canada, the airport announced Wednesday. NewLeaf charter will fly nonstop between the East Valley site and Calgary and Edmonton three times a week beginning the week of Jan. 15.

The low-cost charter service out of Manitoba will join Allegiant at the former Williams Air Force Base near Loop 202 and Power Road.

The Canadian company kicked off the agreement with a sale:

Service from Calgary will start Jan. 19; flights from Edmonton follow Jan. 21.

But there is a snag: J. Brian O’Neill, executive director/CEO of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority, said NewLeaf will only be flying roundtrips that begin in Canada at first.

The airline does not yet have approval to begin roundtrips out of Arizona.

“I don’t have the timeline,” he said.

These are the first out-of-country flights for the growing travel facility, which is on track to serve 1.4 million passengers this year.

“Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is excited about the launch of NewLeaf service from Calgary and Edmonton, and we welcome sun-seeking Canadian visitors looking to enjoy all that greater Phoenix has to offer,” O’Neill said in a news release.

According to the release, the Arizona Office of Tourism said that more than 1 million Canadian residents visited Arizona last year, spending an estimated $1.1 billion while in the state.

NewLeaf’s flights are run by Flair Airlines, based in British Columbia.

KTAR’s Mike Sackley contributed to this report.