Swoop Announces More Non-stop Sun Flying Across Canada

The ultra-not-expensive airline signals now is the time to escape the cold, with more frequent, affordable and convenient options this winter

CALGARY, AB, Dec. 12, 2022 /CNW/ – Today, Swoop, Canada’s leading ultra-low-cost airline, is setting its sights south with newly added flights to Mexico and the Caribbean from Hamilton, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Abbotsford.

“As Canada’s leading ultra-low fare airline, we are thrilled to be expanding sun-flying this winter,” said Bob Cummings, President of Swoop. “With winter weather upon us, demand for leisure travel down south is reaching new heights and we’re proud to meet that demand with this added capacity.”

The ultra-not-expensive airline recently completed a significant fleet expansion, inducting six new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to meet demand for ultra-low-cost leisure travel. Beginning in January, Swoop will restart service from Hamilton to Montego Bay. The ULCC will also add new frequencies to popular published routes from Hamilton to Punta Cana, Toronto to Cancun, Winnipeg to Puerto Vallarta, Edmonton to Mazatlán, as well as Abbotsford to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta.

Canadians can unlock exclusive discounts at all-inclusive resorts when they book their ultra-not-expensive flight as part of a Swoop Getaway*. For added convenience, Swoop flights to warm and sunny destinations are also available through WestJet Vacations.

“We’re excited that travellers can once again take advantage of convenient flights to Jamaica as Swoop resumes its popular service between Hamilton and Montego Bay in the new year. The restart is indicative of the growth ahead for our travel and tourism industry in 2023 and comes just in time for travellers looking for a Caribbean destination this winter. Sun-seekers across the region will now have a low-cost option to enjoy the relaxing beaches and exciting attractions that the vibrant city of Montego Bay has to offer.” – Cole Horncastle, Executive Managing Director of John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport

“We are thrilled to see Swoop’s continued investment in the Hamilton community with the return of Swoop service to Montego Bay and added frequencies to Punta Cana. People from across the region enjoy the ease, convenience, and comfort of flying out of the John C. Munro International Airport right here in Hamilton. Increased Swoop services to popular destinations creates more jobs and boosts our local economy.” – Andrea Horwath, Mayor of Hamilton

With a one-way, all-in price to sunny escapes starting at just $159 CAD, Swoop is showing Canadians just how affordable a vacation can be this winter.  

Route Peak
Weekly
Frequency 
Lowest one-way 
total price (CAD) 
Base Fare  
(CAD) 
Taxes & Fees  
(CAD) 
Days operating
per week
Hamilton to
Montego Bay
2x weekly$159.00$47.33$111.67Wednesdays and
Saturdays
Hamilton to
Punta Cana
2x weekly$199.00$90.68$108.32Wednesdays and  
Saturdays
Toronto to
Cancun
8x per week  $269.00$126.73$99.32Daily, 2x
Tuesdays
Winnipeg to
Puerto Vallarta   
3x weekly$399.00$290.73$99.32Tuesdays,
Saturdays and
Sundays
Edmonton to
Mazatlán
3x weekly$199.00$93.88$102.17Tuesdays,
Fridays and
Saturdays
Abbotsford to
Los Cabos
3x weekly$199.00$130.64$65.42Wednesdays,
Saturdays and
Sundays
Abbotsford to
Puerto Vallarta
4x weekly$239.00$170.63$65.42Mondays,
Tuesdays,
Fridays and
Sundays

For travel between January 5-February 28, 2023 | Seasonal start and end dates apply and are indicated in the booking flow. | Fares are valid until December 15, 2022 (11:59 p.m. MT) or while seats last. | Prices displayed above are subject to change and are not guaranteed until payment is made and accepted.

*Swoop Getaways packages are only available at www.flyswoop.com

About Swoop

Swoop is on a mission to make travel more affordable and accessible for all Canadians. Established in 2018 as an independent subsidiary of the WestJet Group of Companies, Swoop is Canada’s ultra-not-expensive airline. Offering scheduled service to destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, Swoop’s unbundled fares put travellers in control of purchasing only the products and services they desire.   

Swoop’s fleet of ten Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft expanded this year to add six Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, for a total of 16 aircraft.

Swoop heats up winter travel planning with new non-stop flights to Cuba

The ultra-not-expensive airline grows Caribbean offering with ultra-not-expensive service from Toronto to Varadero

CALGARY, AB, Aug. 31, 2022 /CNW/ – Today, Swoop, Canada’s leading ultra-low-cost airline, expanded its winter schedule with new routes, more frequencies and new service to Cuba. Swoop will begin its seasonal, non-stop service between Toronto (YYZ) and Varadero (VRA) on January 11, 2023, and fares are starting as low as $189 one-way.

“We’re thrilled to be announcing an expansion in the Caribbean, adding Varadero to our growing list of vacation destinations,” said Tia McGrath, Leader, Distribution and Sales. “Cuba tops the list for Ontarians seeking an affordable beach getaway and we’re proud to reaffirm our commitment to the region with more ultra-convenient and ultra-low fares.”

As part of its expanding winter schedule, Swoop will restart service to some popular sun and fun routes. Swoop is bringing sun flying back to London, ON (YXU) beginning December 3 with non-stop service to Cancun (CUN) starting on December 3 and to Orlando (Sanford) on December 4. In addition, the ULCC will restart service to Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) from both Toronto (YYZ) and Hamilton (YHM) on December 8 and December 9, respectively.

“We know that choice and value are important to Canadians planning vacations,” continued McGrath, “We have several options available for our ultra-not-expensive flights to be packaged with all-inclusive resorts or vacation properties.”

Through Swoop Getaways, travellers can pair ultra-not-expensive Swoop flights with thousands of hotel, resort and vacation properties, unlocking hotel discounts. Those looking for a pre-packaged vacation can add a Swoop flight to a WestJet Vacation when they book through online travel agencies. Swoop has also partnered with The Special Travel Corporation, whose knowledgeable travel agents can book custom packages with ultra-low-fare Swoop flights.

“We are thrilled to welcome Swoop flights to Cuba, we are excited with this new partnership which means more capacity to Cuba from Canada. In this price sensitive market, Swoop’s ultra-low cost structure will make easier to Canadians this winter to enjoy beautiful Cuba” – Lessner Gomes, Director of the Cuba Tourist Board

 “The London International Airport and Swoop saw strong growth through 2019 and the first quarter of 2020 prior to the pandemic restrictions,” said Scott McFadzean, President and CEO of London International Airport. “It is amazing to have Swoop back offering these incredible destinations at low rates from your local easy and comfortable airport.”

Swoop has increased the frequency of flying on many existing routes, with daily flights from Toronto to Cancun and Las Vegas and near-daily flights to Montego Bay and Punta Cana. Full details of Swoop’s expanded winter schedule can be found below, with ultra-not-expensive flights to sun getaways starting at $89 one-way total pride (CAD).

RoutePeak Weekly
Frequency
One-way total
price (CAD)
Base Fare
(CAD)
Taxes &
Fees (CAD)
Toronto to Varadero3x weekly$189.00$73.04$115.96
Toronto to Ft. Lauderdale6x weekly$109.00$13.05$95.95
Toronto to St. Pete-Clearwater2x weekly$119.00$23.97$95.03
Toronto to Orlando6x weekly$119.00$23.97$95.03
Toronto to Las Vegas7x weekly$99.00$4.92$94.08
Toronto to Cancun10x weekly$259.00$156.62$102.38
Toronto to Kingston5x weekly$189.00$71.68$117.32
Toronto to Montego Bay6x weekly$189.00$71.68$117.32
Toronto to Punta Cana5x weekly$179.00$65.03$113.97
Toronto to Puerto Vallarta2x weekly$299.00$196.62$102.38
Toronto to Los Cabos2x weekly$239.00$136.62$102.38
Hamilton to Ft. Lauderdale2x weekly$109.00$18.43$90.57
Hamilton to Las Vegas4x weekly$119.00$29.35$89.65
Hamilton to St. Pete-Clearwater3x weekly$139.00$48.40$90.60
Hamilton to Orlando4x weekly$99.00$10.30$88.70
Hamilton to Cancun3x weekly$239.00$142.27$96.73
Hamilton to Puerto Vallarta1x weekly$199.00$90.68$108.32
London to Orlando2x weekly$89.00$18.75$70.25
London to Cancun2x weekly$129.00$53.69$75.31
Edmonton to Mesa2x weekly$219.00$115.33$103.67
Edmonton to Las Vegas6x weekly$99.00$2.21$96.79
Edmonton to Mazatlán1x weekly$299.00$230.52$68.48
Edmonton to Puerto Vallarta2x weekly$259.00$153.77$105.23
Edmonton to Los Cabos2x weekly$219.00$115.53$103.47
Winnipeg to Mesa2x weekly$159.00$128.65$30.35
Winnipeg to Orlando2x weekly$149.00$46.83$102.17
Winnipeg to Puerto Vallarta2x weekly$449.00$340.62$108.38
Abbotsford to Mazatlán1x weekly$179.00$73.77$105.23
Abbotsford to Los Cabos2x weekly$269.00$200.52$68.48
Abbotsford to Puerto Vallarta3x weekly$299.00$230.52$68.48

To learn more about Swoop and for flight schedules and bookings, please visit FlySwoop.com.

About Swoop    

Swoop is on a mission to make travel more affordable and accessible for all Canadians. Established in 2018 as an independent subsidiary of the WestJet Group of Companies, Swoop is Canada’s ultra-not-expensive airline. Offering scheduled service to destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, Swoop’s unbundled fares put travellers in control of purchasing only the products and services they desire. 

Swoop’s fleet, comprised of ten Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft and three Boeing MAX-8 aircraft will grow to 16 with the addition of three more Boeing MAX-8 in 2022. At FlySwoop.com [c212.net] travellers can quickly and easily book flights, manage bookings, check-in, view boarding passes, and track flights.

Abbotsford International Airport breaks half-million passenger mark for 2021

From Abbotsford News 🔗 link to source story

The Abbotsford International Airport cracked the half million mark for passengers this year after a big dip in 2020. (File photo)

The Abbotsford International Airport cracked the half million mark for passengers this year after a big dip in 2020. (File photo)

According to numbers from Destination BC, YXX bounces back after a big dip in 2020

BEN LYPKA • March 24, 2022

After a big dip in the numbers in 2020, the Abbotsford International Airport bounced back and cracked the half-million passenger mark for 2021.

Recently released numbers from Destination British Columbia calculated a total of 503,955 passengers arriving at YXX, which was an increase of 59.7 per cent from 2020’s total of 315,578.

January, February and March of 2021 were all significantly down from 2020, seeing drops in passengers of 84.1, 88 and 78.7 per cent respectively. February saw the lowest amount of passengers all year, with 8,504 passengers touching down.

Volume began a turnaround starting in April and continued for the rest of the year. August was the busiest month, with 103,245 passengers arriving – a jump of 409 per cent from 2020.

September (83,008) and October (75,815) were the next two highest months volume wise.

The 2021 and 2020 totals were hit hard by restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 2019 was YXX’s busiest year on record, as it passed the one-million mark for the year on Dec. 30, 2019. The total for 2019 ended up at 1,008,116.

Prior to 2020, YXX had increased in passenger volume five years in a row starting in 2015. The 2021 number was actually slightly higher than the 2015 number of 487,833 passengers.

Past totals also include: 530,643 (2016), 677,653 (2017) and 842,212 (2018).

For more, visit destinationbc.ca/tourism-industry-dashboard.

Government of Canada announces over $18.8 million in support for the air transportation ecosystem in British Columbia

Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI) funding will help maintain regional connectivity and jobs

KELOWNA, BC, Feb. 22, 2022 /CNW/ – In a country as large as Canada, air connectivity is critical to the prosperity of all Canadians. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted regional air transportation ecosystems, affecting economies, communities and businesses across the country.

The Government of Canada’s Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI), launched in March 2021, is fostering access to air transportation and supporting regional ecosystems.

BC's regional airports get an economic boost (CNW Group/Pacific Economic Development Canada)
BC’s regional airports get an economic boost (CNW Group/Pacific Economic Development Canada)

Regional air ecosystem to benefit from funding

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, announced RATI funding of over $18.8 million in federal support for 11 airports and two air carriers in B.C.

Regional airports and carriers provide a vital service, providing commercial flight access, supporting critical supply chains and promoting economic growth. They connect patients to needed medical care and enable essential work travel. They provide important emergency services and cargo operations to supply businesses and frontline workers.

This funding will ensure airports and carriers can continue essential routine maintenance and facility operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will help maintain employment and restore growth in the region as we work to build back from the pandemic.

Regional air transportation is key to the economic development of communities and businesses across Canada. This investment shows the Government of Canada’s commitment to supporting economic development across the country and fostering sustainable, inclusive growth for all.

Quote(s)

“Air transportation is essential to community well-being and regional economic development. Today’s announcement will not only enhance airport safety and support our essential services but will also create jobs that British Columbians can rely on and bolster regional growth as we recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

–       The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“It is essential that different levels of government partner to stimulate the economy as we recover from COVID-19. The Kelowna International Airport plays a critical role in supporting economic development in Kelowna and the region.”

–        Mayor Basran, City of Kelowna

“Thank you to the federal government for providing funding to these regional airports and airlines in B.C. This funding is critical to maintain and rebuild connectivity throughout Canada.”

–       Monette Pasher, Interim President, Canadian Airports Council 

“In my role as Airports Council International – North America Chair, I am working with my colleagues across North America as our industry recovers from COVID-19. Investments in aviation, such as the one being made by the federal government today, not only support the recovery of these airports and airlines, but also their surrounding communities.”

–       Sam Samaddar, Director, Kelowna International Airport

Projects being funded:

Legal NameCityFunding
Stikine Airport Society-Dease Lake AirportDease Lake$328,322
Regional District of Alberni-Clayoquot-Tofino / Long Beach AirportTofino$328,322
City of Abbotsford-Abbotsford International AirportAbbotsford$2,320,000
Kelowna International AirportKelowna$3,261,330
Town of Smithers-Smithers Regional AirportSmithers$505,616
City of Williams Lake-Williams Lake Regional AirportWilliams Lake$130,000
Pacific Coastal Airlines LimitedRichmond$5,098,602
Central Mountain Air Ltd., 580741 British Columbia Ltd.Smithers$5,000,000
The City of Castlegar-West Kootenay Regional AirportCastlegar$524,200
The Corporation of the City of Cranbrook-Canadian Rockies International AirportCranbrook$609,584
Northern Rockies Regional Municipality-Northern Rockies Regional AirportFort Nelson$328,322
Cariboo Regional District-Cariboo Regional AirportAnahim Lake$54,720
City of Quesnel-Quesnel Regional AirportQuesnel$326,518
Total:$18,811,536

Quick facts

  • The Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI) has a national budget of $206 million.
  • The initiative supports regional air ecosystems—which include regional air carriers and airports, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises and non-profit organizations—in developing and implementing enhanced services for improved regional connectivity.
  • It is delivered by regional development agencies across Canada, including Pacific Economic Development Canada, the new regional development agency dedicated to British Columbia.
  • RATI complements measures implemented by Transport Canada.

Associated links

Commercial airliner diverted during high-speed chase in the Fraser Valley

From The Vancouver Sun 🔗 link to source story

The chopper followed the SUV and worked with air traffic controllers at Abbotsford’s airport to redirect an incoming Swoop Airlines flight that was in the helicopter’s flight path.

The Canadian Press The Canadian Press  •  February 10, 2022

Abbotsford police enforce the evacuation order that remains in most of the flooded Sumas Prairie on Nov. 24, 2021. Exact location not provided. City of Abbotsford [PNG Merlin Archive]
Photo by City of Abbotsford /PNG

Police say a man has been charged following a high-speed chase that ended with a collision with a police vehicle in Langley.

Abbotsford police said in a news release that an RCMP helicopter was following a sport utility vehicle with mismatched licence plates Tuesday that was later confirmed to be stolen.

They say the Mounties alerted them to the chase and Abbotsford police officers attempted a traffic stop on the ground, at which point the driver sped away.

Police say the helicopter followed the SUV and worked with air traffic controllers at Abbotsford’s airport to get a course change for an incoming Swoop Airlines flight that was in the helicopter’s flight path.

Police allege the SUV was observed driving into oncoming traffic labes to pass vehicles, using the shoulder of the road, going through red lights and stop signs, and driving at high speeds that put other motorists at risk.

An hour after the chase began, they say the SUV collided with a police vehicle in Langley, but Abbotsford police say neither the driver nor the officer were injured.

They say the driver drove a few more blocks, then fled on foot and was taken into custody with help from police dogs.

A 39-year-old Surrey man has been charged with flight from police, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, possession of stolen property over $5,000, breach of probation and prohibited driving.

Flair Airlines Brings the Heat: Service begins to Cancun & Los Cabos

  • Canada’s everyday low fare airline launches weekly service to Cancun from Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa and to Los Cabos from Abbotsford, Edmonton, and Vancouver
  • One-way flights to Mexico start at $109
  • Flair’s service launch is timely; the average temperature in Mexico in February is 27 Celsius

Edmonton, Alberta, February 5, 2022 – This weekend, Flair Airlines, Canada’s everyday low fare airline, kicks off service to two new sun destinations, Cancun and Los Cabos. Weekly service to Cancun International Airport from Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa, and to Los Cabos International Airport from Abbotsford, Edmonton, and Vancouver. 

“Expanding to Mexico is part of Flair’s exciting growth strategy and we’re very happy to be launching service there. Canadians are tired of the ice and snow, and our affordable fares will help make it possible to take a trip,” said Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer, Flair Airlines. “With one-way fares starting at $109, we’re making it easier than ever for Canadians to chase the sun in Mexico.”

“Service launch to Mexico couldn’t come at a better time, honestly,” added Stephen Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Flair Airlines. “We deployed a proprietary algorithm to determine that Canadians want to escape the cold, right now!”

Non-stop service to Cancun from Ottawa International Airport begins on February 5 and from Region of Waterloo International Airport on February 6. Flights to Los Cabos from Abbotsford Airport, Edmonton International Airport, and Vancouver International airport begin on February 5.

“We are so pleased to see the growth of the interest of Canadian airlines in bringing access from new Canadian cities to Los Cabos,” said Rodrigo Esponda, Managing Director for Los Cabos Tourism Board. “With multiple certifications and strict protocol in place, Los Cabos has and continues to be a safe and attractive destination for those that choose to travel abroad. Canada continues to be one of our priority markets and with multiple new flights it’s easier than ever to travel to Los Cabos,” he said.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Flair Airlines’ new nonstop service to Los Cabos International Airport in Mexico from Vancouver and expect it will be a very popular route with passengers here in B.C.,” said Russell Atkinson, Director, Air Service Development, Vancouver Airport Authority. “Flair’s continued growth at YVR reflects its exciting destinations and affordable fares, which we know are both equally important to travellers. We look forward to Flair’s continued success as it connects our community to even more destinations.”

Mexico Routes:

February 5

  • Abbotsford – Los Cabos (YXX-SJD) 1x weekly
  • Edmonton – Los Cabos (YEG-SJD) 1x weekly
  • Vancouver – Los Cabos (YVR-SJD) 1x weekly
  • Ottawa – Cancun (YOW-CUN) 1x weekly

February 6

  • Kitchener-Waterloo – Cancun (YKF-CUN) 1x weekly

One-way fares, including taxes and fees, begin at $109. There are limited seats and availability for the fares, which are one-way fares, including taxes plus additional options and services passengers may choose. All routes are available for booking at https://www.flyflair.com.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is on a mission to provide affordable air travel to Canadians 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.

Swoop Heats up the New Year with Service to Los Cabos

Canada’s leading ultra-low fare airline, brings new sunny destination to Abbotsford with launch of inaugural route

ABBOTSFORD, BC, Jan. 31, 2022 /CNW/ – Today, Swoop, Canada’s leading ultra-low cost airline, celebrated its first flight between Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) and Los Cabos International Airport (SJD).  The ultra-low-cost airline’s inaugural service took off from Abbotsford at 9:00 a.m. PST and is scheduled to arrive at 2:55pm local time. 

“As the country’s leading ultra-low fare airline, we’re pleased to add another warm-weather getaway option for residents of the Fraser Valley, with Los Cabos topping our growing list of non-stop destinations available from Abbotsford,” said Shane Workman, Head of Flight Operations, Swoop. “Abbotsford International Airport has been an integral partner back, going back to June 20th, 2018, when we operated our first Swoop flight. We’re thankful for their continued commitment to supporting the ultra-low cost model at YXX, bringing more affordable air travel and vacation options to Canadians.” 

Today’s inaugural service marks the first of many to come in 2022, as the airline furthers its commitment and strategic focus on providing more choice and ultra-low fares to the Fraser Valley and Vancouver’s Lower Mainland. Swoop’s introductory fares from Abbotsford to Los Cabos start at just $79 CAD†, and Canadians can unlock additional hotel discounts when they add a hotel or all-inclusive resort to their booking through Swoop Getaways. Beginning March 12, Swoop will also add Mazatlán to its non-stop sun flying schedule from Abbotsford, the third destination in Mexico following Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos.

In celebration of the new service, Swoop’s Head of Flight Operations, Shane Workman was joined by Parm Sidhu, YXX Airport General Manager for an inaugural ceremony prior to departure from Abbotsford International Airport, where travellers were treated to refreshments and giveaways.

“We look forward to expanding our connectivity with Swoop to bring travellers from Abbotsford in a direct flight to Los Cabos,” said Rodrigo Esponda, Managing Director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board. “As Canadian tourism to the destination continues a steady recovery, we continue to implement strong health and safety protocols as travellers look to experience all that our destination has to offer from world-class gastronomy to luxury resorts.”

To learn more about Swoop and for flights from Abbotsford, please visit FlySwoop.com and for information on how Swoop is ensuring a safe and healthy travel experience visit FlySwoop.com/traveller-safety.

70 total seats available for travel between February 14 – April 25, 2022. Sale ends February 6 (11:59pm MT).

About Swoop

Swoop is on a mission to make travel more affordable and accessible for all Canadians. Established in 2018 as an independent subsidiary of the WestJet Group of Companies, Swoop is Canada’s ultra-not-expensive airline. Offering scheduled service to destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, Swoop’s unbundled fares put travellers in control of purchasing only the products and services they desire.

Swoop’s modern fleet of ten Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft, equipped with in-seat power and Wi-Fi connectivity has safely carried more than 3 million travellers in three years of operation. FlySwoop.com allows travellers to quickly and easily book flights, manage bookings, check-in, view boarding passes, track flights and access Wi-Fi service in-flight.

The Rise And Fall Of Air Canada’s Budget Carrier Zip

From Simple Flying – link to source story

by Justin Hayward | January 2, 2022

The early 2000s were a peak time for low-cost airlines. There was growing competition in Europe and North American especially, with many new airlines starting service. In Canada, Air Canada launched subsidiary airlines to operate low-cost flights. Zip operated from 2001 to 2004, mostly competing directly on routes with WestJet.

Zip Air 737
Zip Air was one of the first Canadian budget airlines, operating up to 20 Boeing 737-200 aircraft. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia

Launching Zip in 2002

By the late 1990s, legacy airlines in Canada were under pressure from new low-cost airlines. WestJet, in particular, had expanded rapidly since its launch in 1996. Air Canada’s response to this competition was to launch subsidiary airlines to offer lower fares and the new no-frills unbundled fare concept. This left it free to maintain full service on Air Canada – similar to how it still operates today with Air Canada Rouge, although unbundled fares have now become mainstream, of course.

Air Canada launched its first low-cost subsidiary Air Canada Tango in 2001. This was based in Toronto and operated to many domestic destinations, as well as the southern United States and Mexico, with a strong leisure and holiday focus.

Air Canada Tango
Air Canada Tango launched just before Zip. Photo: Ken Fielding via Wikimedia

Zip followed in 2002 to compete more directly with WestJet. It focussed on alternative services on many key routes, including Abbotsford, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg. It was based in Calgary. Zip flew its first flight in September 2002, from Winnipeg to Calgary.

Boeing 737s on domestic routes

Zip only ever operated the Boeing 737-200. These were all from the main Air Canada fleet. Some of its first aircraft were transferred over from Air Canada Tango (it moved to become an Airbus A320 operator only), with more aircraft joining from the main fleet. At its peak in 2003, it operated 20 737-200s. These were all configured the same, with 118 passengers in an all-economy cabin.

Like WestJet (and as pioneered in North America by Southwest Airlines), Zip introduced the model of charging for all additional services (including baggage and limited catering). This may seem standard these days for regional flights, but at the time, it was a new move for legacy airlines.

Zip Air 737
Several of Zip’s 737s were in a more traditional livery. Photo: Ken Fielding via Wikimedia

Bold branding

Zip certainly stood out for its branding. Although it was a subsidiary of Air Canada, it distanced itself more from the Air Canada brand, unlike Air Canada Tango. Several aircraft were painted in bright, often neon colors, and had an image of a bee flying along the lower edge of the fuselage. Others remained white with just a colored tail. It also used the three-letter ‘Zip’ branding inside the aircraft, placing the word ‘yum’ on napkins and ‘yuk’ on the sick bags.

Zip Air 737
Another of Zip’s 737s in bold colors. Photo: John Davies via Wikimedia

Ending service in 2004

Zip operated domestic routes, focussed on key WestJet markets, until 2004. It then ceased operations. Just like Air Canada Tango (which ceased operations the same year), it was not a failure. It has succeeded in gaining market share in its target markets, and operations were then merged into the main Air Canada brand. Air Canada adopted lower-cost and unbundled fares into its offering, starting the trend that continues in fares today.

The 737-200 aircraft were retired from Air Canada when Zip ended service. Most ended service in 2003, but the last remained registered in the fleet until April 2004.

Air Canada 737
Air Canada operated up to 38 737-200s, retiring them with Zip Air in 2004. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia

This marked the end of a long relationship between Air Canada and the 737-200 – it had operated the type since the 1970s. It then became an all-Airbus narrowbody operator until the 737 MAX entered service in 2018.