Swoop ‘seeing light at the end of the tunnel’ after incredibly difficult 15 months

From CBC News – link to source story

‘People are clearly willing and able to book that long-awaited trip,’ airline executive says

Desmond Brown · CBC News · Jun 18, 2021

Swoop, operated by WestJet, launched in Hamilton back in 2018 with a trip from Hamilton to Abbotsford, B.C. for just $129. (Swoop)

Low-cost airline Swoop is on the rebound, head of commercial and finance Bert van der Stege said Friday, after being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to van der Stege, the carrier lost more than 90 per cent of its revenue and roughly 90 per cent of its passenger volume over the course of the pandemic. 

“The past 15 months or so have been incredibly difficult,” van der Stege said during an executive exchange held virtually with Hamilton International Airport.

“It’s been a difficult 15 months [but] we believe we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel now and have reached a turning point.”

Van der Stege said a “great demand” for seats is “slowly coming back”. 

“We’ve seen a period of record sales again now. People are clearly willing and able to book that long-awaited trip,” he said.

This summer we expect to serve five destinations within Canada from Hamilton airport, and then as we approach the following winter season we will be adding five international destinations from Hamilton.- Bert van der Stege, Swoop Airline

Van der Stege said Swoop will initially focus on domestic travel as it emerges from the fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that’s where they expect the rebound to start. 

He said sales and forecast passenger numbers “are picking up really nicely, in particular in and out of jurisdictions that have outlined a clear path to recovery, easing travel restrictions, [and] a path to open up based on science.”

After that initial period of domestic recovery and domestic travel, van der Stege said Swoop will once again partner with Hamilton International Airport and open up international travel.

“This summer we expect to serve five destinations within Canada from Hamilton airport, and then as we approach the following winter season we will be adding five international destinations from Hamilton.”

Swoop will launch a new flight from Hamilton to Kelowna this Sunday, while the winter schedule will include the following:

  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
  • Cancun, Mexico.
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Orlando and Tampa Bay, Florida.
Swoop’s head of commercial and finance Bert van der Stege. (CBC)

Swoop, operated by WestJet, launched in Hamilton back in 2018 with a trip from Hamilton to Abbotsford, B.C. for just $129.

Since its inception the airline has carried more than one million passengers in and out of Hamilton airport. In total, Swoop has transported more than three million passengers.

The airline has also created more than 500 direct jobs at Hamilton’s John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport

“With the two brands, WestJet and Swoop being present here in Hamilton, we believe that we can assist in the recovery of the tourism and hospitality industry sector, not just focusing on getting Hamiltonians out of Hamilton using Hamilton airport, but also bringing visitors back,” van der Stege said.

With the airline seeing sales “on par with pre-COVID levels,” van der Stege said they will be adding another Boeing 737 to the fleet by the end of the year.

Cathie Puckering, president and CEO of Hamilton’s John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. (CBC)

Cathie Puckering, president and CEO of Hamilton’s John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, said the number of passengers that Swoop has put into the market in such a short time “was amazing.”

She said Hamilton experienced almost a 70 per cent decline in passenger volumes last year due to COVID-19.

Puckering said this year is just as hard but she is confident that things will get back to normal.

“The aviation industry has had shocks and has been hurt before [but] it has been resilient and we have bounced back,” Puckering said.

“So as long as we continue with the vaccine rollout and we continue to follow the restrictions and the measures … travel will recover and we’re optimistic about what the future will hold and Swoop’s growth in Hamilton.”

WE’RE BACK! The #AbbyAirshow is ecstatic to present “SkyDrive”


AUGUST 6, 7 & 8, 2021

The Abbotsford International Airshow is excited to present SkyDrive August 6, 7 & 8, 2021 featuring the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, the US Air Force F-22 Raptor, the RCAF CF-18 Hornet and many more! SkyDrive is a drive-in air show experience – like a drive-in move only way bigger, way louder and way more awesome! Learn more about SkyDrive here.

Canadian airlines return to Puerto Vallarta after 4-month hiatus

From Mexico Daily News – link to source story

Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit are looking forward to the Canadians coming back. Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit are looking forward to the Canadians coming back.

Canadian airlines return to Puerto Vallarta after 4-month hiatus

One airline has already reactivated flights, and three more have confirmed dates

Published on Thursday, June 17, 2021

Canadian airlines are reactivating flights to Puerto Vallarta after a four-month suspension.

Westjet reinitiated its flights to the Jalisco beach destination on June 5, and Air Canada will be next with the reopening of its Vancouver route on August 1.

Low cost airline Swoop plans to restart its Hamilton and Edmonton flights October 5, and its Abbotsford and Toronto routes on November 3. It will also inaugurate a new route from Winnipeg on November 4.

Transat will relaunch flights from Toronto and Montreal in November.

Sunwing is still yet to inform clients of its plans to reopen, but has previously announced it hopes to reestablish its Mexico routes in December.

Marc Murphy, lead of the Riviera Nayarit Visitors and Conventions Office, said Canadians would be happy for the change of climate. “Each year, thousands of Canadians travel to this region to escape the intense winter cold and find an enviable climate, the most beautiful beaches … and a great quality hotel offering,” he said.

With reports from Reportur

Flair Airlines Begins Service to Ottawa

The fast-growing ULCC is adding service to 8 destinations from Ottawa

EDMONTON, Alberta, June 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), continues its growth with the addition of service to Ottawa International Airport (IATA: YOW) in Ontario starting today. The ULCC is adding low fare flights between Ottawa and eight Canadian cities.

Ottawa flights in June will provide non-stop service to Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Calgary. In August, the schedule grows with the addition of service to Halifax, Kelowna and Abbotsford.

“We are delighted to start operations at our newest base in Ottawa,” says Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer. “Just in time for summer, we are bringing affordable travel options with one way fares as low as $49 on several routes. By August, we will have two aircraft based in Ottawa and provide non-stop, low fares to eight cities while creating more than 70 jobs in the community.”

Ottawa is among several new destinations Flair is adding to its network as the airline grows to serve 19 Canadian cities. Flair’s first of 13 new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft started passenger service on June 10 and more of the new aircraft are joining the fleet throughout 2021.

Listed below are examples of one-way base fares currently available. All base fares include taxes and fees, and there are limited seats and limited availability.

  • Ottawa to Halifax: $49 one way, travel on October 14, 2021
  • Ottawa to Abbotsford: $59 one way, travel on September 9, 2021
  • Ottawa to Toronto: $49 one way, travel on July 7, 2021
  • Ottawa to Winnipeg: $49 one way, travel on October 27, 2021
  • Ottawa to Edmonton: $49 one way, travel on September 10, 2021
  • Ottawa to Calgary: $49 one way, travel on November 11, 2021
  • Ottawa to Vancouver: $59 one way, travel on October 26, 2021
  • Ottawa to Kelowna: $59 one way, travel on October 23, 2021

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s only independent Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) and is on a mission to liberate the lives of Canadians by providing 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 19 cities across Canada. For more information, please visit www.flyflair.com

Swoop Responds to Growing Demand for Ultra-Low-Cost Travel

Airline announces fleet expansion and winter flying as new daily bookings return to pre-pandemic levels

CALGARY, AB, June 10, 2021 /CNW/ – Swoop, Canada’s leading ultra-low-cost carrier, today released its expanded winter schedule including increased non-stop domestic service and the re-introduction of flights to the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Following a sustained pattern of new daily bookings on par with pre-pandemic levels, the airline also announced it will proceed with planned fleet growth, inducting its tenth Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft into service this winter.  

The first Canadian airline to fully re-enter its entire fleet into service, Swoop will operate all nine of its aircraft domestically during peak summer. The airline’s winter schedule will provide travellers with ultra-low-cost flights across Canada, as well as to sun and fun destinations including Montego Bay in Jamaica, Las Vegas and Mesa/Phoenix in the U.S., and Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán in Mexico.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in demand for travel this summer, most especially in provinces where vaccination and re-opening plans are on track and clearly outlined,” said Charles Duncan, President of Swoop. “With the release of our winter schedule, those who are planning further ahead or dreaming of a vacation abroad can find our always affordable flights and Getaway packages available for booking through April 2022.”

As the airline that always has deals on already affordable flights, Swoop will offer scheduled winter service to 14 destinations, with ultra-low fares starting from just $40 CAD † total price in the example of a one-way Abbotsford to Edmonton flight. The addition of a tenth aircraft in time for the winter flying season will allow Canada’s leading ULCC to add new routes, destinations, and frequencies in pace with demand.

“Consumer confidence is coming back, and the message is clear, Canadians are ready to start planning that long overdue trip,” continued Duncan. “When travellers are ready, we look forward to safely welcoming them back onboard our aircraft.”

Details of Swoop’s Winter 2021 Schedule and flights currently for sale:

Domestic RoutesPeak Season
Days of WeekService start dates
Toronto – Edmonton14x weekly2x DailyAlready in Service
Toronto – Abbotsford7x weeklyDailyJun 20
Toronto – Halifax7x weeklyDailyJul 16
Toronto – Kelowna7x weeklyDailyAlready in Service
Toronto – Victoria6x weeklyDaily, except
Jun 24
Hamilton – Edmonton7x weeklyDailyAlready in Service
Hamilton – Abbotsford14x weekly2x DailyAlready in Service
Hamilton – Halifax4x weeklyMon, Thu, Fri, SunJun 24
Hamilton – Winnipeg4x weeklyTue, Thu, Fri, SatAlready in Service
Hamilton – Kelowna6x weeklyDaily, except
Jun 20
Edmonton – Abbotsford14x weekly2x DailyAlready in Service
Edmonton – Winnipeg2x weeklyMon, FriNov 1
Edmonton – Victoria7x weeklyDailyAlready in Service
Winnipeg – Abbotsford7x weeklyDailyAlready in Service
Winnipeg – Kelowna3x weeklyTue, Thu, FriJun 24
Transborder RoutesPeak Season
Days of WeekService start dates
Edmonton – Mesa/Phoenix4x weeklyMon, Wed, Fri, SatSept 17
Edmonton – Las Vegas5x weeklyMon, Tue, Thu, Fri,
Sept 23
Toronto – Mesa2x weeklyTue, ThuNov 2
Winnipeg – Mesa/Phoenix2x weeklyMon, FriNov 1
International RoutesPeak Season
Days of WeekService start dates
Toronto – Puerto Vallarta2x weeklyWed, SunNov 3
Toronto – Cancun4x weeklyMon, Wed, Fri, SunSept 18
Toronto – Montego Bay3x weeklyTue, Thu, SatSept 11
Hamilton – Puerto Vallarta2x weeklyTue, FriOct 5
Hamilton- Cancun3x weeklyMon, Wed, SatOct 2
Hamilton – Montego Bay 1x weeklyFridayOct 15
Edmonton – Cancun3x weeklyMon, Wed, SatOct 2
Edmonton-Puerto Vallarta3x weeklyTue, Fri, SunOct 5
Edmonton – Mazatlán2x weeklyWed, SatOct 23
Winnipeg – Cancun3x weeklyTue, Thu, SunNov 7
Winnipeg – Puerto Vallarta2x weeklyMon, ThuNov 4
Abbotsford – Puerto
2x weeklyWed, SatNov 3

†One-way flight from Abbotsford (YXX) to Edmonton (YEG) when you book by June 20, for travel between October 31 – November 10, 2021.  Restrictions may apply, for full details see FlySwoop.com/deals.

To learn more about Swoop and find ultra-low fare flights, 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 modern fleet of nine 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.

Flair Airlines Extends Domestic Schedule into 2022

The growing ULCC has released its Winter 2021/22 schedule for sale with fares starting from as low as $19

Edmonton, Alberta, May 27, 2021 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC), has expanded its schedule with flights to domestic destinations now on sale until March 2022.  With 24 routes and over 650,000 seats on sale, Winter 2021/22 will be Flair’s biggest ever winter schedule.

The winter schedule is part of Flair’s expansion of service to bring low fare air travel to more Canadians. The airline has 13 new aircraft on order joining the fleet in 2021 and 2022.

“We understand how keen Canadians are to travel again and our winter schedule will provide affordable air travel options to help connect the many families and friends who have been apart for the past year,” says Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer. “With fares available from as low as $19 and new aircraft joining the fleet, Flair will continue its expansion into the winter season.”

Bookings are now available for travel through March 26, 2022.


CF Snowbirds 2021 Schedule

5 ‑ 6 To be announced
9 North Bay, Ontario
12 ‑ 13 To be announced
19 ‑ 20 Niagara Falls, New York, USA
22 Hanover, Ontario
24 To be announced
26 Bagotville, Quebec

1 Ottawa, Ontario
5 Thompson, Manitoba
17 Boundary Bay, British Columbia
18 White Rock, British Columbia
21 Terrace, British Columbia
24 ‑ 25 Springbank, Alberta
31‑ 1 To be announced

6 ‑ 8 Abbotsford, British Columbia
21 Gander, Newfoundland
22 Conception Bay South, Newfoundland
25 Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
29 ‑ 30 Debert, Nova Scotia

2 Brantford, Ontario
4 ‑ 6 Toronto, Ontario
8 Kingston, Ontario
11 ‑ 12 Gatineau, Quebec
15 Stratford, Ontario
18 ‑ 19 Mirabel, Quebec
25 ‑ 26 Sacramento, California, USA

2 ‑ 3 Huntington Beach, California, USA
9 ‑ 10 San Francisco, California, USA
16 ‑ 17 To be announced

Swoop Returns to Winnipeg

Airline brings more choice and ultra-low fares back to Manitoba

WINNIPEG, MB, April 25, 2021 /CNW/ – Today, Swoop marked its return to Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG). The airline’s reintroduction of its ultra-low fares now connects Winnipeg with Hamilton’s John C. Munro International Airport (YHM) and Abbotsford International Airport (YXX), with operations to Kelowna International Airport (YLW) set to begin in June.

“We are thrilled to reaffirm our commitment to Manitoba through our return to Winnipeg,” said Shane Workman, Head of Flight Operations, Swoop. “Our affordable fares are now available to those travelling for essential reasons and Swoop will be here to support the economic recovery of the region and connect Manitobans to their family and friends when the time comes.” 

Today’s announcement marks another milestone for Swoop as the airline continues its recovery efforts in conjunction with partners like Winnipeg’s James Armstrong Richardson International Airport to bring affordable and accessible air travel to all Canadians. The airline remains optimistic that as Canada continues its vaccine rollout, a safe restart of domestic air travel is on the horizon.

“We are pleased to welcome Swoop back to Winnipeg as we continue to plan for the safe return of domestic travel as vaccination levels increase across the country,” said Barry Rempel, President and CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority. “Swoop’s return is an important milestone in our plan to rebuild the region’s connectivity and provides a low-cost option for essential travel today while helping to drive Manitoba’s economic and social recovery when the time is right for further travel.”

For flights from Winnipeg and to learn more about Swoop visit  FlySwoop.com.

About Swoop: Established in 2018, Swoop is Canada’s leading ultra-low-cost airline, independently operated as part of the WestJet Group of companies, offering scheduled service to destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Swoop offers completely unbundled products and services, creating the unique opportunity for travellers to control their costs and customize their experience by purchasing only the extras they desire.  

Swoop operates a modern fleet of nine Boeing 737-800 aircraft, equipped with in-seat power and Wi-Fi connectivity. 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.    

PG Airport Authority looks ahead as Q1 numbers drop as expected

From CKPG Today – link to source story

by Caden Fanshaw, Apr 15, 2021

CKPG File Image

PRINCE GEORGE – Passengers are still boarding, and flights are still taking off, but the numbers from the first quarter are “as expected”, down 78% from a year ago.

CEO of the Prince George Airport Authority, Gordon Duke says there is reason to be optimistic when looking ahead to the future.

“We’re happy to see Central Mountain Air expanding their routes, Pacific Coastal increasing frequency, Westjet announcing a route to Abbotsford a new destination coming out of this. I think as we see more vaccines go into arms, we will see more domestic travel coming out of this,” says Duke.

The drop off in traffic has created budget challenges for the Prince George Airport Authority, but provincial funding of $720,000 will help in the short term, paying for maintenance, and other fixed costs that can’t be adjusted.

Although passenger traffic continues to struggle, the importance of the airport for more than just commercial flights continues to shine according to Duke.

With the third-longest runway in North America, YXS continues to offer a hub for COVID-19 vaccine delivery, along with a base for wildfire tankers in the summer months.

The airport saw 7,831 passengers in January, 6,834 passengers in February, and 7,939 passengers in March.