Flair Airlines launches inaugural flight to Chicago

  • Flights from Toronto to Chicago begin today, three times weekly
  • Fares starting at $94

Edmonton, Alberta, May 17, 2022 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s everyday low fare airline, begins service to the Windy City today, with the inaugural flight to Chicago O’Hare International Airport from Toronto Pearson International Airport. The non-stop flight will connect Toronto and Chicago three times weekly.

“We’re excited to bring another incredible destination to our passengers with our inaugural flight to Chicago today. Flair is working hard to bring even more low fare options to Canadians with new destinations across North America.” said Stephen Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Flair Airlines. “We’re making it easier for Canadians to be blown away by Chicago’s unique culture, cuisine, and events by making weekend trips affordable. Bring your appetite for some delicious deep dish pizza!”

“On behalf of Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the entire Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), I am thrilled to welcome Flair Airlines to O’Hare International Airport,” said City of Chicago Commissioner of Aviation Jamie L. Rhee. “Passengers will now have additional options for affordable travel between Toronto and the “Windy City,” voted Best Big City in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler for the fifth year in a row.”

“As aviation continues to recover and more and more travellers once again take to the skies, offering options to our valued passengers is more important than ever,” said Janik Reigate, Director of Strategic Customer Relationships, Greater Toronto Airports Authority. “We’re pleased to partner with Flair to connect people and businesses in Toronto with the Windy City!”

Non-stop service to Chicago is part of Flair’s ongoing expansion into the U.S., with recent inaugurals to Nashville, New York, and San Francisco, as well as Anchorage, starting in June.

One-way fares to Chicago, including taxes and fees, begin at $94 CAD from Toronto. There are limited seats and availability for the fares. Both destinations are now available for booking at www.flyflair.com.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s leading low-fare airline and its greenest airline, on a mission to provide affordable air travel that connects them to the people and experiences they love. With an expanding fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, Flair is growing to serve over 30 cities across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. For more information, please visit www.flyflair.com.

Flair Airlines to Launch Service from Kitchener-Waterloo to Montreal

  • Service to Montreal from Kitchener-Waterloo begins July 7
  • Flights will be non-stop, twice weekly, and starting at $29
  • New route is part of Flair’s recent base expansion at Region of Waterloo International Airport

Edmonton, Alberta, May 3, 2022 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s everyday low fare airline, continues its growth in Kitchener-Waterloo with the announcement of service to Montreal-Trudeau International Airport. The non-stop route will connect Kitchener-Waterloo to Montreal twice weekly. Flair has recently announced a base expansion at Region of Waterloo International Airport, and today’s announcement is part of the expansion.

Beginning on July 7, passengers can travel twice weekly between the two cities. “Kitchener-Waterloo continues to be an important market for Flair, and we look forward to starting service to Montreal from the airport,” said Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer, Flair Airlines. “We know the importance of accessible and affordable travel and with fares starting at $29, we’re excited to offer even more choice to residents of Kitchener-Waterloo.”

“Montreal has long been one of our community’s top Canadian destinations. In 2020 more than 85,700 residents travelled to Montreal by air to conduct business, study, vacation, or visit family,” said Karen Redman, Chair of the Region of Waterloo. “This new service will enhance the ability for local companies and institutions to attract talent and provide residents with more convenient travel options to Montreal. We look forward to welcoming Flair’s non-stop service to Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.”

Flair’s recent base announcement includes an additional aircraft to be based out of the airport, offering the option of new destinations for passengers.

One-way fares, including taxes and fees, begin at $29 to Montreal from Kitchener-Waterloo. There are limited seats and availability for the fares. All routes are available for booking at flyflair.com.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s leading low-fare airline and its greenest airline, on a mission to provide affordable air travel that connects them to the people and experiences they love. With an expanding fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, Flair is growing to serve over 30 cities across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. For more information, please visit flyflair.com.

Flair Airlines adds more flights to Mexico with Puerto Vallarta routes

  • Service to sunny Puerto Vallarta begins in November
  • Non-stop flights from Edmonton begin at $109 and $99 from Vancouver

Edmonton, Alberta, May 3, 2022 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s everyday low fare airline, is bringing even more Mexican sun to Canadian travellers as it announces the launch of two new routes to Puerto Vallarta. Service to Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR) is the latest addition to Flair’s winter schedule for 2022.

Non-stop flights will operate twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays from Edmonton, beginning on November 3. On November 5, once-weekly flights on Saturdays from Vancouver will begin.

“We’re here to offer affordable options to Canadians and growing our network in Mexico is an exciting step forward as we continue our international expansion,” said Stephen Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Flair Airlines. “We are looking forward to partnering with Puerto Vallarta International Airport to bring another sunny destination to our passengers. We know it will be a hot destination this winter, with temperatures averaging 30 degrees in November.”

“We’re pleased to see Flair introduce service to Puerto Vallarta from YVR, offering travellers another great option to visit to this popular area of Mexico from Vancouver,” said Russell Atkinson, Director, Air Service Development at Vancouver Airport Authority. “We look forward to continued growth from Flair as it expands its route map to connect even more travellers from YVR to exciting North American destinations.”

“Flair is bringing the fun with another non-stop Mexican destination from Edmonton International Airport,” said Myron Keehn, Vice President Air Service, Business Development, ESG and Government Relations, Edmonton International Airport. “Puerto Vallarta and its beautiful beaches are a popular destination from Edmonton with plenty of ways to relax and enjoy a great vacation. We’re glad to have Flair headquartered at EIA and helping bring more options for low-cost travel to our communities.”

Puerto Vallarta is an ideal resort destination for sun lovers, with sandy beaches on the Pacific Ocean surrounded by stunning views of the Sierra Madre Mountains.

One-way fares, including taxes and fees, begin at $99 from Vancouver to Puerto Vallarta and $109 from Edmonton to Puerto Vallarta. There are limited seats and availability for the fares. All routes are available for booking at flyflair.com.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s leading low-fare airline and its greenest airline, on a mission to provide affordable air travel that connects them to the people and experiences they love. With an expanding fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, Flair is growing to serve over 30 cities across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. For more information, please visit flyflair.com.

Canadian Transportation Agency will issue a final public determination on June 1

May 4, 2022

Important Notice from the CTA on the Flair determination

Flair has submitted its response to the preliminary determination issued by the Agency on March 3, 2022. The Agency is in the process of reviewing it.

The Panel will consider all evidence and if it determines at the end of the process that Flair is not Canadian, Flair’s licences would be suspended.

On June 1st 2022, the Agency will issue a final public determination with reasons and conclusions.

The Agency does not comment on its determinations as they speak for themselves.

Please consult the reference material below for additional information. 

Reference material

News item – 2022-03-03 – The Canadian Transportation Agency issues preliminary determination on whether Flair is Canadian

Canada Transportation Act, SC 1996, c 10.

Background

The Agency is responsible for ensuring all air carriers licensed to provide domestic air services meet the Canadian ownership requirements set out in the Act. These requirements state that air service licensees must be owned and controlled “in fact” by Canadians. The Agency uses business and other information to determine whether a licence holder or applicant is “in fact” Canadian.

For more information, consult the CTA’s Guide to Canadian Ownership and Control in Fact for Air Transportation and frequently asked questions on air licencing.

Flair Airlines partners with Super Channel to offer premium content onboard

Over 200 hours of Super Channel content now available via Flair’s inflight app

EDMONTON, AB, May 4, 2022 /CNW/ – Flair Airlines and Super Channel today announced that they are joining forces to provide a high-quality onboard experience. The Edmonton-based companies have partnered to offer Flair Airlines’ passengers an extensive collection of Super Channel programming inflight, with over 200 hours of content available now on select routes.

“We’re continually improving the passenger experience, and we’re excited to bring Super Channel onboard our aircraft,” said Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer, Flair Airlines. “We’ve hand-picked content that includes some popular television shows and films, as well as an impressive selection of Canadian content. Super Channel offers a wide range of high-quality content and we’re proud to begin this partnership to elevate our onboard experience together.”

“We are thrilled to choose Flair Airlines, another Edmonton-based company, as our first partner to offer Super Channel content as part of its inflight entertainment experience,” said Don McDonald, President and CEO, Super Channel. “We are proud to present a selection of our programming onboard for Flair’s customers to enjoy and are excited for them to discover all the exceptional entertainment that Super Channel has to offer.”

Flair passengers will be treated to a broad range of Super Channel programming including homegrown Canadian content, Hollywood hits like LaLa Land, and intriguing documentaries such as The State of Texas vs Melissa and Catching a Serial Killer: Bruce McArthur, winner of the 2022 Canadian Screen Award for Best Documentary Program. Flair flyers will be able to sample critically acclaimed dramatic series including UK thrillers The PactLine of Duty, and Hidden Assets, as well as the Canadian Screen Award nominated series, The North Water. In addition, feel-good family fare like When Calls the Heart and Riverfront Romance, ensures there is something for everyone to enjoy enroute to their destination.

The Super Channel content will be accessible on Flair’s inflight app, powered by LiFE in the Air. In addition to entertainment, passengers can use the app to buy snacks and beverages during the flight. Passengers can access the app with their device browser via QR codes onboard or by the updated mobile application here https://life.flyflair.com/.

Super Channel is available via most cable providers across Canada as well as Amazon Prime Video channels and Apple TV+. For a list of service providers, visit: superchannel.ca/subscribe

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s leading low fare airline and its greenest airline, on a mission to provide affordable air travel that connects them to the people and experiences they love. With an expanding fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, Flair is growing to serve over 30 cities across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. For more information, please visit www.flyflair.com.

About Super Channel Entertainment Network

Super Channel is a national pay television network, offering subscribers exceptional entertainment value, uncut and commercial-free, with four diverse channels – Super Channel Fuse, Super Channel Heart & Home, Super Channel Vault and GINX Esports TV Canada – plus, access to Super Channel On Demand where available by service provider.

Super Channel’s mission is to entertain and engage Canadian audiences by providing a unique and exclusive entertainment experience. With a core foundation of integrity and accountability, we dedicate ourselves to implementing innovative programming strategies and unparalleled teamwork that provides viewers with exceptional value and variety.

Super Channel is owned by Allarco Entertainment 2008 Inc., an Edmonton-based media company.

About LiFE In The Air, Inc.

LiFE in the Air powers Flair Airlines’ digital onboard experience, which includes content and an eCommerce experience. If you’re an advertiser or a brand and are interested in learning about how to reach passengers inflight, please enquire at https://flyflair.com/life-partner.

Flair Airlines could be grounded in Canada over foreign control concerns

From Global News 🔗 link to story and video

Craig Load, Global News • April 12, 2022 • Updated April 13, 2022

Ultra low-cost carrier Flair Airlines could lose its right to fly in Canada over concerns that too much of its operations are controlled by a U.S.-based partner, according to a preliminary review from the country’s transportation watchdog obtained by Global News.

The decision, for which Flair is seeking an exemption, could see the airline’s operating licence suspended on May 3, leaving Canadian air travellers with summer travel plans stranded at the gate.

Some air industry observers are watching the proceedings skeptically, wondering about the lack of transparency around the review, while others say the airline has long been playing too loose with Canadian ownership requirements.

“If you’re buying a ticket for travel beyond May 3rd… buy insurance and make sure you’re ready for some turbulence along the way,” says John Gradek, a professor with McGill University’s aviation management program who’s following the case.

Click to play video: 'Airline analyst on the growing pains Flair Airlines is going through as an ultra-low-cost carrier'

Why is Flair’s licence in jeopardy?

Flair Airlines is based in Edmonton, Alta., but operates routes connecting many smaller markets in Canada to other North American destinations.

Though it technically began operations in 2005, it was in 2018 that Flair formally joined the emerging crop of ultra low-cost carriers (ULCC) in Canada including WestJet’s Swoop and Lynx Air. Flair offers a no-frills travel experience but appeals to consumers with eye-grabbing deals such as $69 flights from Toronto to Vancouver.

Flair currently operates a fleet of 13 Boeing 737 aircraft, but has stated plans to scale up to 50 aircraft by 2025. The airline has even received federal support to do so, having gotten $11 million in grants through the Regional Air Transportation Initiative to help expand its operations.

But despite its long-term ambitions, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) — the federal watchdog that oversees the airline industry — launched a review in late 2021 based on concerns that Flair does not meet Canadian ownership requirements under the Canada Transportation Act.

The review is largely tied to a major partner in Flair’s operations, Miami-based 777 Partners, which invested in the airline in 2018. The U.S. company also owns the fleet of planes Flair leases for its operations and has members on the airline’s board of directors.

Click to play video: 'Flair Airlines unveils its first Boeing 737 MAX'

The agency came out with a short statement announcing its preliminary decision on March 3, 2022. Its findings said then that Flair indeed “may not be controlled in fact by Canadians.”

It then gave Flair 60 days to respond to its ruling before the decision is finalized.

Global News obtained a redacted copy of the CTA’s preliminary decision, which included the basis for its findings.

The CTA wrote that Flair’s non-Canadian ownership does not exceed the 49 per cent allowed under the Act. Additionally, 777 Partner’s overall ownership stake of Flair does not exceed the 25 per cent allowed by a single non-Canadian entity.

However, the CTA found that 777 influence over the company’s day-to-day or strategic operations likely constitutes “control in fact” — another key factor determining whether a firm is Canadian enough to qualify for a licence.

Since 777 has more than half of the seats on Flair’s board, and the airline is effectively financially dependent on its Miami-based investors for the leasing of its jets, the CTA found that 777 has more sway in the company’s operations than the balance of its Canadian shareholders.

“After considering all of the facts together, the agency finds that 777’s influence over Flair is dominant and that 777, therefore, may have control in fact of Flair,” the decision reads.

Since the CTA’s ruling is redacted, it leaves out information about who, specifically, the shareholders and board members of Flair are, as well as entire points contained in final analysis.

Global News reached out to 777 Partners for comment but did not receive a response before publishing.

The CTA confirmed in a statement to Global News that if Flair Airlines fails to remedy the watchdog’s concerns, it could have its licence suspended.

“Should Flair’s licences be suspended, Flair would be precluded from operating any flights,” the statement read.

The CTA said it has not yet received a response from Flair Airlines regarding its concerns.

In an emailed statement to Global News, the airline’s CEO, Stephen Jones, said Flair is working “very cooperatively” with the CTA and he “expects that the majority of the issues raised will be resolved in the very short term.”

Flair says it’s Canadian — but asks for time to meet regulations

In the meantime, Flair has sought relief elsewhere — through Canada’s Minister of Transportation, Omar Alghabra.

The company is requesting an 18-month exemption to the rules for Canadian control until it can make certain changes to address the CTA concerns, according to a letter sent from Flair to the minister obtained by Global News.

Flair cites the COVID-19 pandemic as a significant drag over the past two years, which caused it to lean more heavily on 777 Partners as a source of financing.

The company says it is actively looking for more Canadian sources of investment, which could skew control north of the border again, but says the May 3 deadline is too soon for it to secure such deals. Flair does claim the “majority” of the other issues identified by the CTA can be resolved by that deadline.

Flair also argues that denying its exemption would amount to grounding the airline, which serves airports in many secondary markets such as Abbotsford, B.C., Waterloo, Ont., and Deer Lake, Nfld.

Click to play video: 'Flair Airlines to add routes between Winnipeg and Regina, Saskatoon in 2022'

Such a move would ultimately cost jobs, reduce competition in the market and cause economic damage to the country, Flair claims, as well as leaving thousands of Canadian air passengers with summer travel plans stranded.

“This clearly runs against public interest,” the letter reads.

Flair says in the letter it will be responsible for 1,000 “direct jobs” by mid-2022, if it remains a going concern, with thousands more jobs sustained as a result of its operations.

Gradek says Flair’s apparent strategy of “enamouring” itself with the Canadian public and smaller airports has been “very dangerous.” He argues the company has been building up “political clout” while “flaunting the regulations when it comes to Canadian ownership.”

“This was a willful act by Flair to attempt to circumvent or bust through the regulations. They knew exactly what the regulations are,” he tells Global News.

“They’re trying to basically play this out in the game of public opinion.”

While Transport Canada confirmed to Global News it received the letter asking for an exemption, it said it was still in the midst of collecting feedback from industry stakeholders on the proposal and would not comment on whether it would grant Flair’s request.

“Such consultations are designed to support the rigour of the Minister’s assessment of the request, as well as transparency and accountability. It would be premature to speak in terms of conditions associated with any potential exemption,” the ministry’s senior communications adviser, Hicham Ayoun, said in an emailed statement to Global News.

Why is this coming up now?

The CTA’s preliminary ruling does not say why it launched a review of Flair’s ownership and the agency declined to provide specifics when asked by Global News.

Gábor Lukács, president of the Air Passenger Rights consumer protection group, says he is concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding the investigation.

The CTA’s preliminary decisions are normally released publicly with the full analysis document. The short statement posted on its website on March 3 and the redacted copy reviewed by Global News do not present a full picture of a scenario that the agency is now soliciting industry feedback on.

“What the government has done is put out this innuendo that something might be wrong with Flair without allowing the public, the experts, the media, to form meaningful opinions on whether that has any legs,” he says.

“Perhaps it does. Perhaps it doesn’t. But right now, this is causing harm to Flair’s reputation.”

That’s not to say Lukács is a big fan of Flair’s standard operations — he tells Global News he’s fielded numerous complaints about instances of Flair cancelling flights and failing to promptly rebook passengers on other airlines.

In fact, he says he would rather see the CTA go after those glaring violations of air passenger rights than foreign ownership concerns, which, in the short term, do not have a great bearing on consumers.

Lukács says singling out Flair, whose complaint years ago prompted a Competition Bureau investigation of WestJet and Swoop over allegations of undercutting and boxing the airline out of routes, reeks of unfair targeting.

“Why are they making such a … dog-and-pony show over one airline for a requirement that, in the short run, strikes me as marginal, posing no risk to consumers, when the practice of cancelling flights and then not rebooking people properly and immediately does affect consumers?” he says.

“Now that would be something important to focus attention on, against all our airlines, Flair, WestJet, Sunwing, Air Canada, Air Transat, all of them.”

Gradek says that if the CTA ultimately decides Flair does not meet the licensing requirements, the airline could appeal the call, maintaining its right to fly until a secondary ruling is made. If that fails, exact penalties and rectification is up to the watchdog.

“It’s complicated. It all depends how forceful the CTA wants to be with Flair,” Gradek says.

The CTA says that if Flair does lose its licence, it would have to meet its obligations under the “contract of carriage” — the agreement struck between air carrier and passenger.

According to Lukács, case law has shown passengers would have a right to claim refunds against an airline if the company did go out of business before their trip. “But the question is whether there is any money left to refund,” he notes.

More practically, anyone who bought airfare via credit card can get a refund via a chargeback, which puts the onus on the card issuer to recoup their payments.

But Jones said in his statement that the company is anticipating continuing to grow its operations this summer, with a fleet of 20 aircraft expected to take to the skies by mid-June.

“Flair is here for the long term and is committed to finally bring sustainable, affordable airfares to all Canadians, and to every destination we serve now and in the future,” he said.

“Customers can absolutely book with confidence, and we look forward to welcoming them aboard this summer.”

— with files from Global News’ Ross Lord

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Flair Airlines Connects Sister Cities Edmonton and Nashville with Inaugural Flight

  • Twice weekly service from Edmonton to Nashville begins April 12
  • One-way fares starting from $99
  • New route is one of two new Flair routes from Edmonton, including San Francisco on April 14

April 12, 2022, Edmonton, Alberta – Flair Airlines, Canada’s everyday low fare airline, kicks off a series of inaugural flights to the U.S. from Edmonton today with the start of service to Nashville. Today marks the first-ever service from Edmonton International Airport to Nashville International Airport, connecting the two sister cities. Flights to Nashville will be twiceweekly, departing Edmonton on Tuesday and Saturday.

“We’re thrilled to bring even more service to the U.S. from Edmonton. We see lots of opportunity for growth here, and we’re happy to offer more affordable choices to Edmontonians,” said Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer, Flair Airlines. “The unique opportunity to connect Edmonton to its sister city, Nashville, is very exciting for us and we know passengers on both sides of the border will enjoy visiting.”

“Nashville is a new non-stop destination and the first flight is already sold out! We expect lots of interest in this flight and we’re helping build sustainable demand for it by leading a trade mission on the first flight,” said Tom Ruth, President and CEO, Edmonton International Airport. “We’re bringing together political, business and tourism leaders to work with us to strengthen the sister-city connection first made in 1990 and promote travel and investment between our regions.”

Edmonton and Nashville have been sister cities since 1990, particularly sharing a love of music. There are plenty of exciting experiences in each city to enjoy, such as the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and the Winspear Centre, home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

Also this week, Flair starts service to San Francisco. Non-stop flights will be twice-weekly on Thursday and Sunday. Flair is excited to continue to offer additional affordable options for weekend trips to sun from Edmonton.

One-way fares, including taxes and fees, begin at $99 CAD to Nashville and San Francisco from Edmonton. There are limited seats and availability for the fares. All routes are available for booking at flyflair.com.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s leading low-fare airline and its greenest airline, on a mission to provide affordable air travel that connects them to the people and experiences they love. With an expanding fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, Flair is growing to serve over 30 cities across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. For more information, please visit flyflair.com.

Flair Airlines Starts Service to New York City

  • Flair Airlines continues U.S. network growth
  • Twice weekly flights from Toronto to New York begin today

Edmonton, Alberta, April 7, 2022 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s everyday low fare airline, begins service to New York City today, with the inaugural flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport from Toronto Pearson International Airport. The non-stop service is part of Flair’s expansion into the U.S. The non-stop flight will connect Canadians to New York City twice weekly, before increasing to three times weekly in May.

“At Flair, we’re all about connecting people, affordably. This new destination is an exciting and important step forward for us as we continue to expand into the U.S.,” said Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer. “We’re thrilled to connect Canadians to the hustle and bustle of New York City. We’re also happy to offer an affordable option for New Yorkers to visit Toronto and beyond with our low fares, starting at $94.”

New York is in addition to five other U.S. routes starting service so far this year, including Nashville, San Francisco, Anchorage, Chicago, and Tucson. By the end of 2022, Flair will fly a fleet of 20 aircraft as it expands across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.

Non-stop service to New York will be twice weekly, increasing to three times weekly by May 16.

One-way fares to New York, including taxes and fees, begin at $94 CAD from Toronto. There are limited seats and availability for the fares. Both destinations are now available for booking at flyflair.com.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s leading low-fare airline and its greenest airline, on a mission to provide affordable air travel that connects them to the people and experiences they love. With an expanding fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, Flair is growing to serve over 30 cities across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. For more information, please visit http://www.flyflair.com.