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Flying Cheap – Canada’s New Ultra Low Cost Airlines

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Scudrunners Aviation News – As Canadians begin to travel post pandemic many will take to the sky’s aboard new low cost airlines. The high cost duopoly Canadian travelers have faced for decades with Air Canada and Westjet appears to be heading for a showdown with 3 new(ish) Ultra low cost carrier upstarts.

Many have aspired to bring ULCC air travel to Canadian sky’s but this time it might be successful. Legacy airlines battered from Covid and pent up travel demand amongst Canadians may prove to be the perfect storm for one of these entrants to carve out a niche and make ULLC a viable travel option for Canadians.

Flair Airlines has been operating in one form or another since 2005 but jumped head first into scheduled airline operations after dipping its toe into the market with New Leaf. Flair operated Boeing 737’s for New Leaf who originally billed itself as Canada first Ultra Low Cost Carrier. However after a CTA ruling New Leaf was reworked as a ticket reseller. In 2017 Flair Airlines acquired New Leaf and began operating under its own brand. They must save a ton on deice fluid with it permanently painted on. -insert puke emoji

Lynx Air evolved out of former charter airline Enerjet to now offer scheduled service as a Ultra low cost carrier. Last week Lynx operated its first flight between Calgary and Toronto with plans to add two more aircraft to its fleet this year. Expansion will include flights from Hamilton, Halifax and St. John’s at the end of June and Edmonton by the end of July. Lynx plans to be operating 148 flights per week across Canada by summer.

Canada Jetlines has been in the works since 2017 looks like it might cease being a paper airline and unveiled its first Airbus A320 during a media event at the Kitchener Waterloo Airport (YKF). Attendees were able to tour the aircraft and get more insight into the airline’s progress towards takeoff.

When speaking of ULCC we must give honorable mention to Swoop Airlines. However they are just Westjets attempt to ward off new upstarts honing in on their racket. Also it should be noted that Westjet launched Swoop when Westjet pilots voted to unionize. Many of Wesjets trunk routes have been “augmented” by Swoop. In February 2022 they announced acquisition of new 737 Max aircraft expanding the fleet that was to be made of old Westjet aircraft. The new more fuel efficient aircraft should level the operating cost

Ironically many of the routes these new airlines are targeting are the vary same Westjet flew to split Canadian Airlines and Air Canada’s dominance of Canadian air travel in the 90’s. Back then Westjet billed themselves as the plucky upstart low cost airline, today Westjet has strayed so far from the Low Cost model it was founded on that this may provide an opening for a new player to enter the market.

If I was to place a bet on which one will be successful I wouldn’t bet on anyone of them, Puts all around.

As Warren Buffet once said “If a capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk back in the early 1900s, he should have shot Orville Wright“.

That being said if I where to YOLO some calls on the subject I wouldn’t be surprised by a merger of Flair Airlines with Lynx Air.

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