Category: Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines Claims a New Hometown

Flair AirlinesFlair, Canada’s low-fare airline, today announced that after extensive analysis, it will build on the success of Edmonton International Airport as its Main Transfer Hub and officially establish itself as Edmonton’s Hometown Airline. Flair will continue to expand its network to/from Edmonton by growing its frequency and network – both domestic and trans-border; announcing new low-fare routes in the coming weeks. Flair will also progressively relocate its operations and executive base in Edmonton.

Flair’s Executive Chairman, David Tait, commented, “Just last week Flair doubled its frequency out of Edmonton and, as one of the fastest growing cities in the country, the community and the airport are uniquely positioned to support our ongoing growth: Already, of Flair’s almost 200 flights per week, 65% of them fly to/from Edmonton. We are also looking forward to tapping into Edmonton’s professional talent pool, as we progressively establish our headquarters here over the coming months.”

“We congratulate Flair Airlines on its success,” said Tom Ruth, President and CEO of Edmonton International Airport. “Over the past year of operation, not only has Flair introduced new destinations and increased route frequencies, it has successfully expanded Edmonton into its main transfer hub for Canada. This reflects Flair’s strong confidence in the Edmonton Metro Region, and has proven this market’s support for Flair’s growing list of non-stops and ULCC value.”

Cities from which Flair operates benefit with dramatically lower airfares as a direct consequence of the carrier’s market presence. Airports also report an increase in first-time travellers.

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Competition heating up for price-sensitive passengers as Swoop set to launch

by Ross Marowits, Canadian Press

SwoopMONTREAL – Competition is heating up for Canada’s most price-sensitive travellers as WestJet Airlines gears up to launch the country’s second ultra-low cost airline Wednesday.

Swoop, an offshoot of WestJet Airlines, will make its maiden flight on its pink and white aircraft before the sun rises in Hamilton, Ont. on a trip to Abbotsford, B.C.

“From my perspective coming into this fresh — I’ve been in Canada four months now — I personally believe there’s a huge opportunity in Canada,” said Swoop president Steven Greenway.

Greenway is an Australian native who has worked in executive positions at airlines including Japanese low-cost carrier Peach, Virgin Blue, Virgin Atlantic and Qantas.

Swoop marks his sixth airline startup.

By discounting travel, Swoop, Flair Airlines and others are trying to repatriate the more than five million Canadians who cross the border to catch flights from airports in Buffalo and Plattsburgh, N.Y., and Birmingham, Wash.

“From our perspective there’s the opportunity to fill a gap, there’s an opportunity to stimulate demand, there’s an opportunity to welcome Canadians back from crossing the border. We believe there’s a significant enough market to be able to thrive,” Greenway said in an interview.

He expects competition will increase significantly over the next 12 months as Canada Jetlines gears up to join Swoop and Flair in offering deeply discounted fares along with charges for everything from a onboard drink to carry-on and checked baggage.

Flair welcomed the extra competition.

“We think that having more people in the space helps promote the fact the space exists and will work to each other’s advantage,” executive chairman David Tait said in an interview.

“I don’t think Canada’s big enough for half a dozen players in this space, but there’s certainly plenty of room for two and maybe three.”

Meanwhile, Tait said Flair plans to move its headquarters to Edmonton from Kelowna, B.C., over the coming months to help promote its growth.

“Kelowna was a fine base for a charter operator but it didn’t really give us the scope, the potential we need as we’re growing.”

Swoop is entering an area of the airline business that doesn’t have a stellar history of success in Canada: Jetsgo, Air Canada’s Tango, Canada 3000 and Roots Air have all floundered in the past.

Canada is the only G7 country without a true ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC) and the model has been successful in Europe, Australia and the United States, said transportation analyst Chris Murray of AltaCorp Capital.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen a true ULCC model in the Canadian marketplace before so I think we’re in somewhat uncharted territory,” he said.

“I think there’s also frankly some opportunities if they do it well to be successful with it.”

Murray estimates the Canadian ultra low-cost market can handle 10 million passengers per year, enough to support up to 50 aircraft. The service is particularly suited to leisure flights to Las Vegas, Arizona and Florida, he added.

Swoop says fares should be 30 to 40 per cent lower than a national carrier.

The key will be to keep costs down from lower labour costs, cramming 189 seats into Boeing 737-800s, and stimulating demand from people who don’t normally fly because of the high cost.

The carrier, however, has already had something of a bumpy takeoff.

WestJet’s launch of Swoop had been a source of labour strife between the company and pilots, who were on the brink of a strike last month before reaching an 11th-hour deal.

Earlier this year, the union won a Canada Industrial Relations Board challenge to the company’s proposed policy to offer pilots a two-year leave of absence if they go to fly for Swoop.

A federal arbitrator recently ruled that WestJet’s unionized pilots will also fly Swoop, which means the airline can no longer outsource Swoop flying, a major disagreement in recent negotiations.

Swoop will recognize the union as the exclusive bargaining agent for all Swoop pilots, who will be on the airline’s one seniority list and fly aircraft at Swoop terms and conditions.

Initial one-way flights start at $49 tax included from Abbotsford to Winnipeg, $129 between Hamilton and Abbotsford and $99 between Hamilton and Halifax.

The fares don’t include a range of fees, including carry-on luggage and checked bags starting at $26.25, seat selection start at $5, and $15 to contact the call centre if the service can be carried out on the website.

No pets aside from guide dogs are allowed on board and any credits are only valid for 90 days. No loyalty points will be awarded.

Swoop is starting with two planes, with plans to roll out six by year-end and 10 in 2019.

Instead of flying from Toronto Pearson International, flights will fly out of Hamilton’s lower-cost airport. Other initial cities are Winnipeg, Edmonton, Halifax and Abbotsford.

Additional destinations will be added, including international flights likely by the end of 2018, said Greenway. Flair plans to fly to Orlando and Palm Springs, Calif., next winter.

While there is a real concern that passengers could feel being “nickled and dimed” by a series of ancillary fees, experience in Europe over the past 20 years suggests passengers ultimately focus on the fares, said Greenway.

“It is an education process and I think people will adapt over time.”

Flair Airlines Expands Network

Flair Airlines will increase its flights per week from 90 to 188 beginning today – effectively increasing its direct, one stop and connectivity throughout its entire network. 

Flair Airlines Ltd--Flair Airlines Announces Expansion
Flair Airlines (CNW Group/Flair Airlines Ltd.)

Flair Airlines: Flair, Canada’s only operating low-fare airline, today launches service from Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Calgary International Airport and Victoria International Airport. This marks Flair’s commitment to expanding its route network as was announced earlier this year. With today’s addition of Halifax, Calgary and Victoria – coupled with increased frequency on its existing routes – Flair has effectively doubled its flights and now has services stretching coast to coast.

Cities in which Flair flies to and from benefit significantly with lower airfares as a direct consequence of Flair’s market presence: Since Flair launched service from Edmonton and Winnipeg (as an example) both communities have already reported 30-40% reductions in ticket prices (source: Kayak.com).

Echoing this, Flair’s Executive Chairman, David Tait, commented, “In barely a year, Flair has had a tremendous impact in lowering the price of air travel in Canada and we are confident these new locations will be no different. We offer Canadians the opportunity to travel more often, to explore the country and, for small business owners, maybe visit out-of-province customers more often. We are delighted to bring spread our Flair throughout the country.”

Flair Airlines to more than double its flights on June 15 under new leadership

Flair AirlinesFlair Airlines is delighted to announce that David M. Tait OBE has joined Canada’s only operating low fare airline in the capacity of Executive Chairman.

A Canadian, David brings a wealth of unique airline experience having worked with Wardair Canada in Toronto, Laker Airways in Toronto and Miami, Virgin Atlantic Airways in New York and Air Canada in Montreal.

In 1984, with the then little-known Richard Branson, David helped craft a business plan for what would become Virgin Atlantic Airways. He then became one of the nascent airline’s first employees. Starting out with a single Boeing 747, he then spent the next 18 years as Executive Vice President and a director building the airline into one of the industry’s most innovative and critically acclaimed carriers.

In May of 2001, David was awarded an OBE (Officer of The Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for “Services to British Aviation in North America.”

After leaving Virgin, David served as Senior Vice President, Customer Service for Air Canada. He is also a best-selling author and award-winning travel columnist.

Commenting on his appointment, David said, “Canadians have been denied the services of an independent, truly low cost, low fare carrier for way too long. With Flair, I am excited to join another airline that, like we did with Virgin, can shake up the status quo with innovative, quality, friendly air service at consistently low fares and – most importantly – get more people out of their couches and into the air.”

Jim Scott, CEO, Flair Airlines stated, “We are thrilled to have David join our team. His expertise, deep industry knowledge and unique experience in successfully leveraging the advantages the little guy has in an industry dominated by relative Goliaths, will be invaluable. The only way to build the best airline in Canada is to have the best people – and David certainly falls into that category.”

On June 15 Flair will more than double its present total of 90 flights per week with increased nonstop and direct connectivity throughout an expanded Canadian network that stretches from Halifax to Victoria.