The ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) celebrates the completion of its 2022 fleet expansion as part of the WestJet Group’s strategic path forward
TORONTO, Nov. 22, 2022 /CNW/ – Swoop, Canada’s leading ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC), is celebrating the entry into service of its sixth new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft with WO flight 360 from Toronto to Halifax. In just under ten months, Swoop has added six new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to its existing fleet of ten Boeing 737-800 NGs, bringing its total fleet size to 16 aircraft. This accomplishment is a symbol of Swoop’s considerable growth in 2022, adding 12 new destinations to our network with more to come in 2023.
“We’re thrilled to be celebrating the entry into service of our sixth new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, increasing our capacity and sustainability with the most fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft on the market,” said Bob Cummings, President of Swoop. “This achievement is a testament to our commitment to providing Canadians with more access to affordable and convenient air travel options and in response to heightened demand for travel. This winter we are excited to be able to offer expanded sun-flying capacity from cities across Canada, with the ability to fly Swoop in combination with a WestJet Vacations package.”
The ultra-not-expensive airline’s fleet additions have entered service at critical times this year, allowing the ULCC to expand service offerings at times of peak demand.
Entry into Service Date
June 30, 2022
June 30, 2022
August 9, 2022
October 22, 2022
November 4, 2022
November 20, 2022
“At Swoop, we name our aircraft in reference to the pillars of our company, showing our appreciation for people, places and things that make us who we are,” continued Cummings. “#Swoopon” highlights our commitment to providing always-affordable air service to Canadians. “#Swoopster” is named after our employees, who work tirelessly every day to deliver ultra-affordable air service to Canadians. “#Halifax”, “#Winnipeg, “#Kelowna” and “#Charlottetown” celebrate some of the communities we serve and the partnerships within that are critical to our operation.”
“As Swoop expands its all-Boeing fleet, the 737 MAX 8 is pivotal to the airline’s strategy to sustainably grow its route network for passengers,” said Brad McMullen, senior vice president of sales, North America, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The 737 MAX provides enhanced fuel efficiency and environmental performance that will benefit Swoop as it connects cities across Canada and North America.”
“We are delighted to deliver these 6 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to Swoop, expanding its fuel-efficient fleet and helping Swoop to capitalise on the recovery that we are seeing in the sector,” said Barry Flannery, Chief Commercial Officer, SMBC Aviation Capital. “These modern, fuel-efficient aircraft will allow Swoop to expand flight destinations and provide even more value to their customers over the coming years. It’s great to see the hard work and effort of the Swoop and SMBC Aviation Capital teams paying off and we look forward to many years of growth and successful partnership.”
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 has recently increased to 16 with the addition of six Boeing MAX-8 in 2022.
At FlySwoop.com travellers can quickly and easily book flights, manage bookings, check-in, view boarding passes, track flights and access Wi-Fi service in-flight.
Multi-billion-dollar investment to strengthen airline’s presence in Western Canada and underpin growth in transcontinental and leisure offerings from eastern Canadian communities
Aircraft to foster low-cost positioning and greater affordability for Canadians
CALGARY, AB, Sept. 29, 2022 /CNW/ – Today the WestJet Group announced an agreement with Boeing to purchase an additional 42 MAX aircraft, along with options for 22 more. This order is in addition to WestJet’s remaining 23 MAX orders and extends the airline’s fleet growth plans out to 2028.
“With this additional order, the WestJet Group will accept delivery of no fewer than 65 aircraft in the next six years, at least 50 will be 737-10 aircraft, furthering our commitment to affordable travel options for Canadians and jobs for our company and the aerospace industry,” said WestJet Group Chief Executive Officer Alexis von Hoensbroech. “WestJet’s expansion plans are rooted in an enhanced presence in Western Canada and a growth strategy in eastern Canadian communities through increased transcontinental flights and more direct routes to sun and leisure destinations. This will be further strengthened once our Sunwing transaction has been approved.”
WestJet’s Board of Directors approved the order for state-of-the-art Boeing 737-10 aircraft, the largest model in Boeing’s MAX family. The 737-10 provides superior economic benefits to any other 737 aircraft in WestJet’s fleet, while ensuring simplicity through expected training commonality across the airline’s 737 fleet.
“The 737-10 will provide WestJet with additional capacity and unrivalled efficiency as the airline further expands its network of destinations across Canada and internationally. WestJet understands the value of the 737 MAX family, with the 737-10 set to perfectly complement the outstanding capability and flexibility already afforded by the 737-8, along with improved sustainability across its fleet,” said Stan Deal, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“The 737-10 will be a game changer, with one of the lowest costs per seat among mid-range aircraft. This will foster our low-cost positioning and affordability for Canadians. In addition, with its lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions, the 737-10 will further improve the environmental footprint of our fleet,” said von Hoensbroech. “Thank you to our Board of Directors, who endorsed both the business and environmental merits of this agreement. It reflects our confidence in our business model and sustained market recovery, as we emerge from the pandemic being one of few airlines at scale that have not drawn any sector-specific government aid.”
The WestJet Group’s fleet, with an average age under 10 years, is among the youngest of established North American carriers.
Features of the Boeing 737-10:
Greater fuel efficiency and the best per-seat economics of any single-aisle airplane in the industry.
Can cover 99 per cent of the world’s single-aisle routes, ideal to serve WestJet’s growing domestic and international network.
Reduced fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 20 per cent per seat compared to previous generations, helping airlines make air travel even more sustainable.
Improved guest comfort with a quieter cabin featuring the Boeing Sky Interior, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger overhead stowage bins.
Quieter airplane, creating a 50 percent smaller noise footprint than the airplanes it replaces.
Additional Quotes: The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra “Today’s announcement by WestJet is exciting news for Canadian travelers and our national air industry as a whole. As we enter post-pandemic recovery, investments like these in sustainable and affordable air travel will ensure that our air sector remains strong. I look forward to continuing the work our Government is doing with WestJet and air carriers across the country to make air travel safer, cleaner, and more affordable for everyone.”
About WestJet In 26 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.
For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com.
Recent recognition includes:
2020/2019 Number-One Ranked Canadian Airline Loyalty Program in Member Engagement (Bond Brand Loyalty)
2019/2018/2017 Best Airline in Canada (TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for Airlines)
2019 Winner Among Mid-Sized Airlines in North America (TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for Airlines)
2019/2018 Number-One-Ranked Airline Credit Card in Canada (Rewards Canada)
The WestJet Group’s strategic path forward for our guests, employees and the communities we serve
The WestJet Group yesterday brought together leaders, representing all parts of the operations and business, to hear directly from Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alexis von Hoensbroech, as he shared plans for growth into the COVID recovery, and the airline’s commitment to embracing its cost-conscious roots in service of affordable air travel for Canadians.
“The immediate priority is to ensure we are ready for the high volume of pent-up travel demand this summer,” said Alexis von Hoensbroech, CEO of the WestJet Group. “Equally important is charting a path that continues to grow WestJet as the friendly, reliable and affordable airline our guests know and love.”
Since arriving on February 15, 2022, von Hoensbroech spent his first 100 days getting to know the airline’s people, guests and network. Joining at a critical inflection point as the WestJet Group emerges from the pandemic, the executive team around von Hoensbroech and WestJet’s board of directors undertook a strategic review to determine the best course for sustained future success for the airline and its people.
“WestJet is strong foundationally, having weathered the pandemic as perhaps the world’s only airline of scale that did not accept sector-specific government funding or issue any new equity or debt. We’re now at an exciting and pivotal moment for the industry and our airline,” continued von Hoensbroech. “As we emerge from the pandemic, the world around us is changing with rising inflation and instability from the war in Ukraine. We are also facing industry-specific challenges, including spiking oil prices and staffing shortages at airports.”
The WestJet Group’s strategic growth plans
Through the strategic review, the airline looked to historical strengths to secure future success, honing in on a focused network and strategy; an unrelenting cost commitment; and a consistent, superior guest experience.
To build upon the reasons why guests choose WestJet and drive future growth, WestJet will renew its focus on:
Growth as a low-cost carrier that is friendly, reliable and modern
Shifting resources to significantly grow its presence and network in the West, fostering its undisputed status as the home-team carrier of Western Canada offering more direct, non-stop flights to communities
Investing further in leisure and sun flying as a priority across Canada, including through the acquisition of Sunwing, following regulatory approval
Investing in technology and radical digitalization to improve guest experience and simplify internal processes to ensure meaningful and engaging jobs for its people
Redoubling efforts to maintain its successful and highly productive low-cost structure and culture, to ensure relentless competitiveness and affordability for guests
To match its commercial strategies, the airline will centre its existing widebody 787 Dreamliner fleet around Western Canada and, for the time being, pause further investment into incremental Dreamliners to focus instead on additional narrowbody growth. In addition to the more than 30 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that the airline will receive over the coming years, including 15 in 2022 alone, WestJet is working towards a substantial additional narrow body order.
The airline will maintain its current premium offerings, with a focus on strengthening its premium leisure segment and corporate premium in the West. The focus of WestJet’s regional fleet of De Haviland Q400 aircraft will be shifted and rightsized to focus on Western Canada, removing complexity from operations, and prioritizing the airline’s commitment to enhance Western Canada’s connectivity.
Network changes are complex and will be phased in over an extended period of time. The airline is committed to engaging with communities and stakeholders in these plans. Guests can anticipate seeing changes gradually implemented by summer 2023.
“We will deploy our aircraft where they can be of greatest service to Canadians,” explained von Hoensbroech. “While we will be investing the majority of our fleet in the West, as a national airline we will maintain a significant presence in the Eastern provinces, primarily through direct connections to our Western cities, while significantly enhancing our network to leisure and sun destinations, including through our acquisition of Sunwing.”
WestJet will also continue to significantly scale other areas of the business that remain critical, namely WestJet Cargo, Loyalty, WestJet Vacations and Swoop, it’s ultra-low-cost carrier. The acquisition of Sunwing will facilitate the scaling of WestJet Vacations and Swoop.
“Swoop is an important part of our strategy with a tremendous cost structure, and we still have plenty of room to grow and bring lower fares to our guests,” added von Hoensbroech. “WestJet and Swoop will run more complementary networks and collectively meet the demand of leisure travellers.”
Strengthening the airline’s leadership team, the WestJet Group announced the addition of Bob Cummings as President of Swoop on April 13, along with Kirsten de Bruijn, Executive Vice-President, Cargo on April 5 and Karl Schuster, Executive Vice-President and Chief Loyalty Officer late last year.
“WestJet’s low-cost roots have been the foundation of the historical success of our company. As we realize our ambitious growth plans, we will bring more air service to Canadian communities and connect more people to what matters most, through friendly and affordable air travel,” concluded von Hoensbroech.
Strengthening the airline’s senior leadership team
To support the fulfillment of its strategic direction, the airline has further strengthened its senior leadership team with a number of new appointments:
Angela Avery, Group EVP and Chief People, Corporate & Sustainability Officer
Angela Avery joined WestJet in February 2020 as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. In her newly expanded role, she brings together complementary teams including People and Culture, Communications, Legal, Government, Regulatory, Community Investment, and Environment, Social and Governance (ESG). Avery will be leading an inclusive, engaged and purpose-led team focused on supporting all aspects of WestJet’s business and meeting the needs of the communities that the WestJet Group serves.
With more than 25 years of legal and commercial leadership experience across multiple industries, Avery has led transactions totalling more than $25 billion and has an extensive regulatory and compliance background. Avery joined WestJet from Athabasca Oil Corporation where she was responsible for legal, business development, human resources as well as marketing and transportation. Her international experience includes an appointment to litigate war reparations at the United Nations. She is called to the bar in New York and Alberta and received a Queen’s Counsel designation in 2022.
Christian Novosel, Chief Digital Officer
Christian Novosel will join the executive leadership team in August. Responsible for Digital Technology Delivery, Data Analytics and Business Intelligence and the Group Project Management Office, he will be integral to the ongoing development and delivery of WestJet’s enterprise-wide digital transformation for both its guests and people.
Novosel joins WestJet with almost 20 years of aviation experience most recently serving as Head of Corporate Development and Chief Data Officer for Austrian Airlines. In this role, he established the airline’s centralized digital team and led several strategic and innovating processes to implement digital solutions across the organization.
Natalie Farand, Chief Experience Officer
Natalie Farand will take on the newly created role of Chief Experience Officer (CXO). Led by Farand, the CXO team will define WestJet’s value proposition and enable WestJet to successfully engage stakeholders to activate a guest-centric vision and strategy.
In her eight years with WestJet, and most recently as WestJet’s Vice-President Guest Experience, Farand has led many digital functions from eCommerce, User Experience, Digital Marketing and Analytics. Farand introduced the User Experience discipline within WestJet, putting focus on the voice of the guest, and was responsible for the Digital Channel and Product strategic roadmaps and operations at WestJet, including the website, mobile app, chatbot, inflight entertainment system and eCommerce platforms.
Jeff Hagen, Vice-President Strategy and Fleet
Jeff Hagen, already part of the WestJet leadership team, will take on a new role as Vice-President, Strategy and Fleet. Responsible for leading WestJet’s strategic transformation to a low-cost carrier, the strategy team will also encompass the office of the CEO, enterprise strategy and fleet.
Hagen has been with WestJet for more than eight years and has held a variety of roles in that time including corporate development and planning, and head of investor relations. During this time, he played key roles in important company milestones including the airline’s purchase by Onex and the current Sunwing acquisition, awaiting regulatory approvals.
Victorville, California, June 15th 2022: SMBC Aviation Capital is pleased to announce the delivery of one (1) Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft (MSN 63976) equipped with two (2) CFM LEAP engines to Swoop (a wholly-owned subsidiary of WestJet).The aircraft and associated engines were delivered while located in Victorville, California.
This is the first of six aircraft delivering to Swoop over summer 2022.
CAE announced today at the 2022 World Aviation Training Summit (WATS), the expansion of the CAE Toronto Training Center for the deployments of a CAE 7000XR Boeing 787 and a CAE 7000XR Boeing 737 MAX full-flight simulators (FFS) to support its Canadian customers.
CAE is expanding its training center as Canadian airlines are expressing optimism that air travel will normalize in 2022, and as airlines around the world are preparing for business and international travel to return to pre-COVID levels in the following years.
“We are excited to expand our training footprint in Toronto with the immediate addition of new Boeing 787 and 737 MAX simulators to be deployed in the second half of 2022,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE’s Group President, Civil Aviation. “These latest additions complement our offerings and support the efforts of our Canadian-based airlines as they ramp up service and look for future growth.”
At the facility, pilots for the airlines will train on the industry’s most advanced full-flight simulators and benefit from digitally immersive solutions that elevate safety, efficiency, and readiness for Canadian travelers from coast to coast.
The CAE 7000XR Series FFS is the latest evolution of CAE’s industry benchmark FFS. Designed in collaboration with CAE’s customers, the CAE 7000XR Series sets a new standard in Level D FFS. Leveraging the latest advancements in technology and training capabilities, the CAE 7000XR Series is designed to optimize life-cycle costs for our customers and to address new and future training requirements. Enhanced features include the CAE Tropos 6000XR for extreme visual realism, a next-generation instructor office, upset prevention recovery training, and it is also built for lower ownership costs and increased reliability.
CAE is a high technology company, at the leading edge of digital immersion, providing solutions to make the world a safer place. Backed by a record of 75 years of industry firsts, we continue to reimagine the customer experience and revolutionize training and operational support solutions in civil aviation, defense and security, and healthcare. We are the partner of choice to customers worldwide who operate in complex, high-stakes and largely regulated environments, where successful outcomes are critical. As testament to our customers’ ongoing needs for our solutions, over 60 percent of CAE’s revenue is recurring in nature. We have the broadest global presence in our industry, with more than 13,000 employees, 180 sites, and training locations in over 35 countries. www.cae.com
Charlotte Ryan, Siddharth Philip and Layan Odeh, Bloomberg News | 23 February 2022
Air Canada is in talks with Airbus SE about adding longer-distance A321neo jets alongside its fleet of Boeing Co. 737 narrowbodies as travel demand rebounds, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The carrier is looking at ordering 10 to 20 aircraft, one of the people said. The negotiations are preliminary and may not lead to a deal, according to the people, who asked not to be named discussing matters that aren’t public.
While Air Canada was an established operator of Airbus’s original A320 family, it chose the Boeing Max in the contest between new-generation planes. Adding a small fleet of A321neos would bring a further boost for an Airbus model that can carry 220 people in two classes over longer distances than the rival Max 10.
Air Canada is also talking with jet lessors about sourcing the A321s, one of the people said.
An Airbus spokeswoman declined to comment on any discussions the company may have with customers.
Air Canada referenced a Feb. 18 conference call, when Chief Executive Officer Michael Rousseau discussed fleet renewal initiatives as the airline emerges from the pandemic. Last May, the CEO said that Airbus A321LR, or long range, models “potentially have a place in the Air Canada fleet as we go forward.”
Other airlines have also returned to growth mode, looking ahead to fielding newer, less-polluting planes in the post-pandemic era as the drag on demand caused by the coronavirus starts to lift.
Qatar Airways, JetBlue Airways Corp. and Allegiant Travel Co. are among carriers making fresh narrow-body commitments since the start of the year.
IAG SA, the parent of British Airways, is in advanced talks on a mixed order for dozens of single-aisle jets, including up to 50 Boeing Co. 737 Max and Airbus A320s also being discussed, Reuters reported earlier, citing industry sources.
The order would be a step down from the 200-plane Max commitment to announced with fanfare at the Paris air show in 2019, yet it would still mark a victory for Boeing after IAG reopened the contest last year. IAG currently operates Airbus narrow-bodies.
AIR CANADA PLANS
Air Canada, which said Tuesday it will relaunch 34 international routes, announced last week that it had reinstated a commitment for 12 Airbus A220s, a smaller jet originally designed and built by Canada’s Bombardier Inc.
The deliveries were canceled in 2020 after the virus stifled demand and Air Canada struggled to secure pandemic aid from the government. The carrier also scaled back its Boeing Max deal by a third to 40, and deferred some of those handovers.
In November, Air Canada changed course, accelerating Max deliveries and reversing two of the A220 cancellations to restore its network.
As it stands, the fleet comprises around 170 aircraft, including older A320s and a Boeing-dominated wide-body lineup.
The A321, prized by airlines for its combination of capacity and range, is in short supply with yearslong production backlogs. Airbus’s cancellation of a Qatar Airways order amid a contract dispute could free up some capacity, though a London judge has ordered the manufacturer to hold the slots for now.
Continuing its slow recovery from the worst of the global health crisis, major Canadian airline Air Canada the growth of its fleet in 2021. Notably, this consisted of the addition of a number of Airbus A220-300s as well as several Boeing 737 MAX 8s. Let’s take a glance at where Air Canada’s fleet stands at the start of 2022.
*We should note that the airline ordered the A220 when it was still known as the Bombardier CSeries.
Aircraft from Boeing:
737 MAX 8: 31 (+7)
767-300BCF*: 3 (+3)
777-200LR: 6 (no change)
777-300ER: 18 (-1)
787-8: 8 (no change)
787-9: 29 (no change)
*One Air Canada 767-300 has completed its conversion from passenger to freighter. The remaining two are in the process of being converted.
Growing the short and medium-haul fleet
As you can see from the changes since our last Air Canada fleet report, the carrier has gained five Airbus A220-300s and seven Boeing 737 MAX 8s.
As noted previously, there was a little bit of a back-and-forth when the carrier announced it would be canceling some of its orders in November of 2020, which would have seen orders for 12 A220s and 10 737 MAX 8s axed. However, one condition of the Canadian government’s rescue package was that it would proceed with its planned orders for both aircraft types. As a result, the airline has nine 737 MAX 8s and 18 A220-300s still on the way.
Going big on cargo operations
One surprising standout number from our list was the “addition” of three Boeing 767-300s from last year. This change is, again, a bit of a back and forth. During the worst of the crisis, Air Canada had decided to retire its 767s.
However, cargo demand has been soaring amid increased eCommerce activity, decreased transportation capacity, and global supply chain snarls. These factors led the airline to convert its passenger 767s into full freighters, complete with a large door to handle containers on the main deck. Work was, and continues to be, done at IAI facilities in Tel Aviv.
It’s not just 767s and the bellies of passenger aircraft being used for cargo operations. At the time of this article’s publication, the carrier has four of its 16 A330-300s and seven of its 18 Boeing 777-300ERs operating as “preighters” (passenger freighters). These are passenger aircraft which have had their seats removed in order to accommodate freight. Making use of the fleet’s younger jets for reasons unknown, the airline was able to provide additional cargo capacity to Canada’s west coast, which had its main road and rail supply lines cut off from the rest of the country in November, due to extreme and extensive flooding.
CAE announced has announced the expansion of its pilot training capacity in Europe through the deployment of a brand new CAE 7000XR Series Boeing 737 MAX full-flight simulator (FFS) at the CAE Amsterdam training centre.
“CAE provides the most innovative full-flight simulators (FFS) to improve training efficiency, offer advanced capabilities, and increase operational efficiency for airlines,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE Group president, Civil Aviation Training Solutions. “We are excited to expand our training footprint in Europe with this latest addition of our Boeing 737 MAX FFS. CAE is leading the industry with innovative training solutions and operational support to all of its customers across the globe”.
CAE has received close to 60 orders for Boeing 737 MAX full-flight simulators and has already delivered more than 35 B737 FFSs of these orders for various customers around the world. CAE has six B737 Max FFSs installed at the company’s training centers located in Toronto, Dallas, Amsterdam, Dubai and Singapore. The CAE 7000XR Series FFS is the latest evolution of CAE’s industry benchmark FFS. Designed in collaboration with our customers, the CAE 7000XR Series sets a new standard in level D FFS. Leveraging the latest advancements in technology and training capabilities, the CAE 7000XR Series is designed to optimise life-cycle costs for our customers and to address new and future training requirements. Enhanced features include CAE Tropos 6000XR for extreme visual realism, next-generation instructor office, upset prevention recovery training, and built for lower ownership costs and increased reliability.
CAE signs long-term training deal with SAS for Airbus A350 pilots CAE and Scandinavian carrier SAS, announced the signing of an exclusive Airbus A350 pilot training agreement until 2032. CAE already provides Airbus A320, A330 and Boeing 737 full-flight simulator (FFS) training to the airline’s pilots. CAE has been providing training solutions services, initial and recurrent pilot training, and cabin crew training to SAS for more than 10 years. Pilot training for Airbus A350 aircraft is a key part of SAS’s growth and fleet modernisation as the airline continues to open up new destinations and more frequent flights. In support of this agreement, CAE deployed an Airbus A320 FFS to its CAE Oslo training centre in 2021 and will deploy another Airbus A350 FFS to its CAE Copenhagen training centre in the beginning of 2022.
With Flair’s rapid expansion over the past year, the airline will need to ensure it has sufficient aircraft to fulfill its scheduling commitments. When the airline began 2021, it had three- yes, just three- Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Its fleet has now grown to have eight 737s, with more on the way. Let’s take a look at the Flair Airlines fleet in 2021.
Starting with just three 737-800s
Flair Airlines began the year with just three Boeing 737-800s. These jets were acquired on the second-hand market, flying with Flair since mid-2019. Collectively, these have an average age of just under 11 years. Registered C-FFLA, C-FFLC, and C-FFLJ, these older jets have flown with airlines such as Air China, Germany’s Air Berlin, and Thailand’s Siam Air. Simple Flying had an opportunity to fly onboard one of these jets, writing a review of the experience here.
January 2021: A major acquisition
Then, at the start of 2021, Flair announced that it was taking on 13 737 MAX 8s from Boeing. These jets are coming to the airline through a lease agreement with a company called 777 Partners, an investment firm based in Miami with 25% ownership of Flair Airlines. As we had noted previously, 777 Partners had themselves recently signed off on purchasing 24 new MAX 8s directly from Boeing, with the option for a further 60 planes.
Commenting on the milestone order, Stephen Jones, President & CEO of Flair Airlines, said,
“Our efficient new aircraft will provide us the foundation to execute our ULCC business model. These planes will enable us to keep fares low while expanding our service to meet travel demand.”
On May 29th, Flair took delivery of the first of these MAX jets. Planespotters.net data showed that the nearly two-year-old aircraft held three prior test registrations (N1786B, N1799B, N1782B, N57001) before taking its current Canadian letters.
Since late May, Flair has taken delivery of four more MAX 8s with a plan to take delivery of three more MAX 8s in the next few weeks. While this will push the airline’s total fleet size to 11, the airline’s January announcement to take 13 MAXs means it will have an initial fleet size of 16.
Ultimately, however, the airline has a goal of 50 aircraft within its first five years of operation. A goal which it has ‘codenamed’ “F50.” The carrier is likely to keep quite close to the low-cost-carrier playbook, ordering more of the same type to reduce training and operational costs associated with fleet diversification.
While somewhat ‘brand new,’ without any previous owners, Flair’s newest jets are around one-and-a-half to two years of age. This would indicate that the aircraft are so-called ‘whitetails.’ These are aircraft originally built for another customer but canceled at some point along the way.
The age of these aircraft would indicate that they were canceled due to the 737 MAX crisis, which stretched from March 2019 to early 2021.
With the MAX recertified by the FAA and Transport Canada, Flair is confident of the type’s safety. We would imagine that the leasing company acquiring the jets likely purchased them at a great price due to the MAX controversy and was thus able to pass those savings on to Flair.
While Flair’s fleet is certainly quite uniform (fitting with most budget airlines), its expansion in 2021 and anticipated growth over the next few years will certainly be exciting to watch.