Price wars, budget options coming to airline market amid COVID recovery

From The Toronto Star – link to source story

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press | 19 November 2021

MONTREAL – Canada has so far been a difficult place for budget airlines to thrive, but that appears to be changing, thanks mainly to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian market, long defined by two dominant incumbents and consumer reluctance to embrace the ultra-low-cost model, is now poised to enter a period of price wars and suppressed fares as the pandemic upends the aviation sector.

“The pandemic has clearly changed the game for everyone,” Stephen Jones, CEO of discount carrier Flair Airlines, said in an interview.

“The emergence of ultra-low-cost carriers and competition can only be good for consumers. It’s driving efficiency into what was a relatively inefficient industry and lowering prices, I think permanently.”

While the pandemic saw billions of dollars in revenue go up in smoke over the past 20 months, it also burned down barriers to entry for upstarts.

Plummeting demand for aircraft meant carriers could access them more quickly and cheaply. A pilot shortage that had plagued the industry is no longer as severe. And greater availability of airport slots has given companies leverage when striking deals with airport authorities.

“All the competitors are relatively stretched — their balance sheets are stressed, their fleets are contracting. And so the conditions for expansion for a ULCC [ultralow cost carrier]are fantastic right now,” Jones said.

ULCCs, which offer bare-bones discount fares and charge extra for services such as checked bags and cancellations, have expanded their global market share, largely outside of Canada, to more than 37 per cent from about one-quarter a few years earlier, according to Jones..

Several carriers have been beefing up over the past six monthsin preparation for a clash with Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. — and with each other — particularly for domestic flights and to sun destinations.

Flair was down to one aircraft in April. It now has a dozen planes, with four more coming next year as the Edmonton-based airline adds routes from Victoria to St. John’s, N.L.

Lynx (formerly Enerjet) announced this week it will launch commercial routes next year with three new Boeing 737 Max airliners, part of an eventual fleet of up to 46 within seven years.

Meanwhile, WestJet budget subsidiary Swoop continues to expand, unveiling nine new routes out of Edmonton this week.

Demand remains the big caveat, though airlines say they are confident it will continue to rise next year, particularly among recreational travellers. Business travel — which can yield fatter profit margins and make up for seasonal lulls — continues to lag, a problem that hits bigger airlines harder than discount carriers, which offer no business-class tickets and fewer international flights to commercial hubs.

“Canadians are finally embracing the ULCC model,” said Robert Kokonis, president of consulting firm AirTrav Inc.

“You’d go to chat boards online and people were grumbling about having to pay extra to check in a bag or even to pay money for a carry-on bag. But Canadians are starting to realize that, hey, if I can pay a really rock-bottom airfare, I’ve got money left over to spend at the destination.”

Porter Airlines, while not a ULCC, is another smaller player that is expanding its fleet, securing 30 Embraer E2 narrow-body jets for delivery between mid-2022 and the end of 2023, with an option for 50 more.

Bound for sun destinations and Canadian cities, they will fly from Montreal, Ottawa and Halifax as well as Toronto’s Pearson airport — rather than Porter’s current downtown base at Billy Bishop airport — allowing for head-to-head competition with Air Canada, WestJet, Transat AT Inc. and Sunwing Airlines.

“Air Canada and WestJet won’t take the new incursion by Porter lying down. They’re going to come out and be robust competitors,” Kokonis said, adding that prices will fall “for sure” compared to pre-pandemic fares.

“As the ULCCs gain traction in the deeper sun destinations — places like the Caribbean and Mexico — I think it’s going to pose a significant competitive issue for both Sunwing and Transat. Both of those players are heavily oriented around package vacations.”

However, history has shown that success in this market is far from guaranteed. Between 1995 and 2015, no fewer than six low-cost carriers tried and failed to get off the ground: Greyhound Air, Roots Air, Air Canada’s Zip, Jetsgo, Zoom Airlines and Canjet.

“Before, some of the new entrants that came in were not terribly well-financed or well-backed,” said David Huttner, a commercial aviation expert who has worked with Flair.

“You have three Alberta-headquartered parties in there now” — Flair, Lynx and WestJet’s Swoop — “who are extremely well-structured.”

Flair remains undeterred, with flights to nine U.S. airports so far — mainly U.S. sun destinations — as well as Cancun and Cabo in Mexico.

“They could become the price leader in the Canadian marketplace,” said aviation expert and McGill University lecturer John Gradek.

“You are now talking about a carrier that has risen like a phoenix from the ashes.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2021.

Flair Airlines says “¡Hola México!” with Low Fare Flights from Canada to Cancun and Los Cabos

Canada’s leading low-fare airline begins Mexico service in February from Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia

Edmonton, Alberta, November 16, 2021 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s only true ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), continues to expand and change the face of the Canadian aviation market as it introduces nonstop, low-fare flights to Cancun and Los Cabos, Mexico, from Vancouver, Abbotsford, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Kitchener-Waterloo.

“Starting in February, Canadians will enjoy affordable, sunny winter getaways to Cancun and Los Cabos without breaking the bank,” said Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer, Flair Airlines. “We can’t wait to get our customers to the beach.”

“The average February temperature in Canada is -6 °C; the average temperature in Cancun is 28 °C, so February seemed like a good month to start service,” he added.

Starting February 1, Flair will offer nonstop flights to Los Cabos on Tuesdays and Saturdays from Vancouver, and Wednesdays and Saturdays from Abbotsford and Edmonton. Nonstop flights to Cancun will be on Wednesdays and Saturdays from Ottawa and Wednesdays and Sundays from Kitchener-Waterloo. The ultra-low fares will start from $129 CAD one-way. All routes and schedule details can be viewed at https://www.flyflair.com.

Comments from our airport partners

Vancouver International Airport (YVR):

“We are delighted to see Flair adding a new route out of YVR. Flair’s new offering of flights to Los Cabos in Mexico provides yet another great option to escape a west coast winter,” said YVR Director, Air Service Development, Russell Atkinson. “We wish all the best to Flair as they expand and offer Canadians a unique, new travel experience. With more people being vaccinated and travel measures easing, we look forward to continued increased service from Flair which will benefit the community and the economy that supports it.”

Region of Waterloo International Airport (YKF)

“I am pleased that Flair Airlines in expanding service from the Region of Waterloo to Cancun, Mexico,” said Karen Redman, Regional Chair. “Expanded local service means more options for families, continued job growth, as well as a strong tourism sector and local economy.”

Abbotsford International Airport (YXX)

“On behalf of the City of Abbotsford and the Abbotsford International Airport Authority, I’d like to congratulate Flair Airlines on their expanded service to Los Cabos this coming winter from YXX,” said Henry Braun, Mayor of the City of Abbotsford and chair of the Abbotsford International Airport Authority. “Expanding routes offered at Abbotsford International Airport, not only gives travellers more accessible and affordable options, it also has a positive impact on our local and regional economy and is an important step in our pandemic recovery.”

Ottawa International Airport Authority (YOW):

“With the first snowfall on the ground and temperatures falling, we are confident that passengers in Ottawa-Gatineau will embrace Flair’s service to Cancun as they escape to the beautiful beaches and warm sunshine,” said Mark Laroche, President and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority. “Flair’s expanded offering at YOW benefits the entire community; our passengers enjoy more travel options, and the Ottawa International Airport takes another step forward in its pandemic recovery.”

Edmonton International Airport (YEG):

“EIA is pleased for Flair to announce its first Mexico destination. Thank you Flair for your continued investment in your hometown airport and for providing capacity to Los Cabos International Airport so Edmontonians and surrounding communities can get their vitamin SEA,” said Myron Keehn, Vice-President, Air Service and Business Development, Edmonton International Airport.

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 28 cities across Canada and the U.S. For more information, please visit http://www.flyflair.com.

Second low-cost carrier set to land at Comox Valley Airport

Swoop Airlines is set to service the Comox Valley Airport in June 2022. (Contributed)

From Comox Valley Record – link to source story – Thanks to CW

Swoop Airlines is set to service the Comox Valley Airport in June 2022. (Contributed)

Swoop Airlines arriving at YQQ in June 2022

ERIN HALUSCHAK | November 15, 2021

The Comox Valley Airport (YQQ) welcomes Swoop Airlines to the Comox Valley with service starting in June 2022.

“Swoop’s arrival will generate a lot of excitement for travellers looking for affordable options to reconnect with their friends and family,” said Mike Atkins, Comox Valley Airport’s CEO.

“We are delighted to have Swoop support travel to the Comox Valley, particularly for our tourism partners ready to welcome visitors to the spectacular region we serve.”

Swoop will commence three times weekly service from Edmonton, using their modern fleet of Boeing 737-800NG aircraft, on Thursday, June 9, 2022.

“We are thrilled to begin service to Comox Valley Airport with the announcement of our new non-stop service to Edmonton,” said Charles Duncan, president of Swoop. “With more than three million travellers having already experienced Swoop’s incredible service and ultra-low fares we are confident this new route will be a huge success.”

In October, Flair Airlines announced they will commence flying out of YQQ in March, 2022, with three weekly non-stop flights to both Edmonton and Calgary.

Established in 2018 as an independent subsidiary of the WestJet Group of Companies, Swoop – like Flair Airlines – is an Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC). ULCCs offer unbundled low base fares that only includes the seat; baggage, seat selection, snacks and carry-on bags come at additional fees.

On Vancouver Island, Swoop currently flies to the Victoria International Airport.

Canadian airlines adding flights, capacity in bid to recover COVID-19 losses

From Global News – link to source story and videos

By Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press | October 31, 2021

WATCH: Airlines struggle to keep up with passenger volumes – Sep 4, 2021

Airlines are adding flights and capacity in the hope that passengers are eager to jump back onto flights after more than 18 long months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been going through the equivalent of about 11 years of historical growth over the past six months, so the growth has been really tremendous over a very, very short period of time,” says John Weatherill, chief commercial officer at WestJet.

After a near-grounding of flights, the Calgary-based airline expects to be at about 70 per cent its pre-COVID capacity by the end of December, fully restore its domestic business by next summer and see its international capacity fully return by the end of 2022.

Air Canada, with its larger network and increased service to international destinations and business travellers, is projecting that it will be back to where it was before the pandemic struck by 2023 or 2024.

“But those dates are very movable depending on how things develop over the next six months,” said Mark Galardo, senior vice-president of network planning and revenue management at Air Canada.

Future waves of COVID could upset these plans, although airlines expect a growing number of vaccinations will help to address any new health challenges.

“We’re feeling generally good that the worst is behind us,” he said in an interview.

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

Flair Airlines to add routes between Winnipeg and Regina, Saskatoon in 2022

Galardo said COVID has been an eye-opening experience that wiped out a decade of growth.

North American passenger demand was down 79 per cent in January 2021 compared with January 2019 with seat capacity off 60.5 per cent, according to the International Air Transport Association, the trade group representing airlines.

The situation has improved, but the number of scheduled domestic flights for the fourth quarter is still down 40 per cent and capacity is nearly 25 per cent lower than where it was before the pandemic, according to Cirium, the aviation data company.

The easing of travel restrictions and rising vaccination rates have allowed demand to improve but the aviation sector’s future “remains more uncertain than it has in decades,” says a report from Deloitte advocating reform in the Canadian aviation sector.

“The pandemic has completely upended the sector’s future,” the report said, noting it could take up to five years for air traffic in North America to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Garth Lund, chief commercial officer at Flair Airlines, says the recovery so far has been uneven. Low-cost airlines like Flair that are expanding their fleet will see a much faster recovery with these types of carriers increasing their market share globally from before the pandemic.

That’s because they mainly serve leisure travel which has seen pent-up demand. They’ve also parked fewer of their planes than legacy carriers, been able to secure newer planes and have used the pandemic to get better airport deals, recruit crews and catapult the growth of the business.

“The past 18 months or so, or even past six months was really a bit of a once in a lifetime opportunity for really catalyzing that growth,” Lund said.

Click to play video: 'WestJet, partners agree restart of travel and tourism essential for economic recovery'

WestJet, partners agree restart of travel and tourism essential for economic recovery

For the industry as a whole, vaccinations for both passengers and employees are key.

“I think that helps people’s confidence to travel,” added Charles Duncan, president of Swoop, WestJet’s low-cost carrier.

However, business travel _ which is Air Canada’s bread and butter and helps to offset lower leisure fares _ could face a longer road back to normalcy as many big companies have postponed reopening their offices.

Galardo said that until business recovers, it will be betting even more on the leisure market that has been more resilient and is partly supported by multicultural communities travelling to visit families and relatives around the globe.

Westjet’s Weatherill said uncertainty around travel restrictions and testing requirements are contributing to passenger reluctance to purchase tickets.

Testing is expensive, especially the PCR test required to re-enter Canada. As vaccinations become available to children as young as five, the industry wants to see testing, which it views as the “last major logistical and economic hurdle to recovery” end in 2022.

“It’s also unnecessary in our view, and it’s in a world where effectively everyone who’s travelling is double vaccinated,” Weatherill said.

The hope is that an updated U.S. air passenger policy allowing vaccinated travellers to rely on rapid tests instead of PCR tests or use self-testing kits will be adopted by Canada.

“We would hope that Canada eventually sees the light (and end the PCR requirement),” said Robert Kokonis, president of airline consulting firm AirTrav Inc.

“Once we do that, I see demand further improving in the forward booking season, both for winter and for summer.”

Click to play video: 'Consumer Matters: How to save on travel amid soaring flight prices'

Consumer Matters: How to save on travel amid soaring flight prices

The impending reopening of the U.S. border for Canadian travellers on Nov. 8 will also help to boost passenger confidence because there’s been confusion with air travel being permitted while the land border has been closed, added Lund.

“Adding more consistency between the two will just help people to have that confidence to to fly south.”

Meanwhile, a 120 per cent increase in fuel costs over the past year to the highest level since 2014 presents a challenge for all airlines, which are loathe to impose fuel surcharges.

“We haven’t had a domestic fuel surcharge at WestJet since 2008,” Duncan said.

“We do not intend to bring back a fuel surcharge and will work diligently to manage this increasing expense while maintaining low fares for Canadians, as we have consistently done over the last 13 years.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Flair Airlines expansion to the U.S. begins with first flights to Florida and Las Vegas

Inaugural flights to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale start Sunday from Ottawa and Toronto• First flight to Las Vegas is Tuesday from Toronto

Edmonton, Alberta, Oct. 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), expands service into the United States Sunday as the airline reaches a major milestone as part of its unprecedented growth. Flair’s rapidly expanding fleet and network is changing the way Canadians travel, and the inaugural flights to Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Las Vegas mark the start of ultra low fares for travel outside of Canada.

Flair’s inaugural flights to the US are:

October 31, 2021:

Flight #334 – Ottawa (YOW) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL), 7:00am EST – 10:30am EST

Flight #144 – Toronto (YYZ) to Orlando Sanford (SFB), 11:15am EST – 2:00pm EST

Flight #111 – Toronto (YYZ) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL), 12:00pm EST – 3:20pm EST

November 2, 2021:

Flight #176 – Toronto (YYZ) to Las Vegas (LAS), 1:00pm EST – 3:00pm MST

“Flair’s launch of service to the US is an important milestone in our mission to make air travel affordable for everyone,” said Stephen Jones, President and CEO, Flair Airlines. “We continue to change the way Canadians think about air travel as they discover the freedom and benefits our low fares provide in their travels. We are thrilled to bring iconic US destinations like Las Vegas, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale into our network of Canadian travelers who are anxious to get back to exploring the world.”

“Las Vegas has long been a favorite destination for visitors hailing from all parts of Canada,” said Chris Jones, Chief Marketing Officer for the Clark County Department of Aviation. “As both the U.S. and Canadian governments relax restrictions on international travel, Flair’s newest service from Toronto, with more markets to follow, will expand the opportunity for Canadians to conveniently enjoy the Entertainment Capital of the World.”

“Canada is one of Orlando Sanford International Airport’s most exciting opportunities to generate additional passenger traffic.  We just completed a major terminal expansion and update and we are proud that Flair Airlines is making use of these improvements,” said Tom Nolan, President and CEO, Orlando Sanford International Airport

Flair is in the midst of exponential growth as it continues to expand into new markets while it takes delivery of new 737 MAX aircraft. The growing fleet of aircraft provide Flair remarkable fuel savings and reduce the airline’s CO2 emissions by 14%. Flair is striving to become Canada’s greenest airline as it grows its fleet to 50 aircraft by 2025.

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 28 cities across Canada and the U.S. For more information, please visit http://www.flyflair.com.


					

Flair Airlines grows Winnipeg service with flights to Regina and Saskatoon

Service beginning in Spring 2022 key to Flair’s strategy to delight Saskatchewan and Manitoba passengers with low fares

Edmonton, Alberta, Oct. 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), continues to grow its 2022 schedule with the addition of twice weekly nonstop service between Winnipeg and Regina as well as Winnipeg and Saskatoon. The new routes are part of Flair’s unprecedented growth as the airline expands its fleet to 16 aircraft and creates new affordable connections across North America.

“Low fare travel has arrived for the Prairies and we are excited to connect more families and travelers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan,” said Stephen Jones, President and CEO, Flair Airlines. “Connecting Regina and Saskatoon to Winnipeg with sustainably low fares is an important step in Flair’s growth and we know our customers will love the service.”

“We eagerly anticipate the arrival of these new Flair service offerings between Winnipeg and Regina/Saskatoon at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport,” said Barry Rempel, President and CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority. “Our partnership with Flair is growing and their efforts to provide Manitobans with more convenient, low-cost domestic travel options are playing a critical role in quickly restoring the affordable, wide-ranging air services our community relies upon to sustain itself and grow.”

“Skyxe is thrilled with the continued expansion of our relationship with Flair Airlines. Winnipeg is a key domestic market for Saskatoon which will benefit from increased air service opportunities for our guests. The addition of Flair’s low cost air service option will provide residents of Saskatchewan the ability to visit friends and family in Winnipeg conveniently and more frequently,” said Stephen Maybury, President & CEO, Skyxe Saskatoon Airport.

“We are thrilled to see Flair Airlines introduce this new route between Regina and Winnipeg. Travelers in southern Saskatchewan want connections between these two cities. This is a fantastic addition from Flair to build on the other amazing Canadian cities they are already serving out of YQR,” said James Bogusz, President and CEO, Regina Airport Authority.

Flair is adding new 737 MAX aircraft to its fleet in 2022 as it strives to become Canada’s greenest and most sustainable airline. The new aircraft deliver fuel savings and reduce the airline’s CO2 emissions by 14%. Flair recently announced a 33 percent increase in its fleet and additional routes within Canada and to the US.

Fares on the new routes will start at $49 CAD one-way for both the Winnipeg-Regina and Winnipeg-Saskatoon routes, including taxes and fees. All routes and schedule details can be viewed at https://www.flyflair.com.

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 28 cities across Canada and the U.S. For more information, please visit http://www.flyflair.com.

New Routes

  • Winnipeg – Regina (YWG-YQR) – 2x weekly starting April 14, 2022
  • Winnipeg – Saskatoon (YWG-YXE) – 2x weekly starting April 16, 2022

Recently Announced & Current Winnipeg, Saskatoon & Regina Routes

  • Regina – Edmonton (YQR-YEG) – 2x weekly starting April 14, 2022
  • Regina – Toronto (YQR-YYZ) – 2x weekly ongoing
  • Regina – Vancouver (YQR-YVR) – 2x weekly resumes March 28, 2022
  • Saskatoon – Edmonton (YXE-YEG) – 2x weekly starting April 16, 2022
  • Saskatoon – Toronto (YXE-YYZ) – 2x weekly ongoing
  • Winnipeg – Abbotsford (YWG-YXX) – 2x weekly resumes December 16, 2021
  • Winnipeg – Calgary (YWG-YYC) – 2x weekly ongoing
  • Winnipeg – Edmonton (YWG-YEG) – 3x weekly starting April 15, 2022
  • Winnipeg – Waterloo (YWG-YKF) – 2-3x weekly ongoing
  • Winnipeg – Ottawa (YWG-YOW) – 2x weekly ongoing
  • Winnipeg – Toronto (YWG-YYZ) – 2-6x weekly ongoing
  • Winnipeg – Vancouver (YWG-YVR) – 2-4x weekly ongoing

					

Canada’s only Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC), Flair Airlines selects Comox Valley Airport as the first of seven new domestic destinations

Thanks to CW

19 October 2021 | Comox Valley Airport

The Comox Valley Airport looks forward to welcoming Flair Airlines to the region commencing March 29th, 2022, with three weekly non-stop flights to both Edmonton and Calgary.

“We’re very excited that Flair Air has chosen Comox as the gateway to central Vancouver Island,” said Mike Atkins, CEO of the Comox Valley Airport Commission. “As air travel continues to rebound, Flair’s service to Calgary and Edmonton provide incredible low-cost options to visitors, businesses and friends and family alike. We can’t wait to share the beauty of Vancouver Island with Flair’s passengers.”

Earlier today, Flair announced 14 new domestic and US routes, including Comox. The airline not only strives to achieve the lowest cost per seat mile of any Canadian airline, it also uses a fuel-efficient fleet of new aircraft, to achieve fuel savings and reduced C02 emissions, a vital step in lowering Flair’s carbon footprint.

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 28 cities across Canada and the U.S. For more information, please visit www.flyflair.com

Flair Airlines grows schedule 33% in Canada and the U.S. with four new aircraft

  • Service will launch in Spring 2022 to San Francisco, Nashville, and Denver in the U.S., between Toronto and Victoria and to Comox, B.C., in Canada
  • Canadian ULCC adds four aircraft to bases in Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver
  • 150 new jobs created from schedule and fleet growth

Edmonton, Alberta, Oct. 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), continues its unprecedented growth with the deployment of four brand new 737 MAX aircraft in April and May 2022. Two additional aircraft will be added to Flair’s Toronto base, bringing the total there to five.  A second aircraft will be added to Flair’s Edmonton base and a third aircraft to its Vancouver base. Flair’s Spring 2022 schedule will expand from twelve aircraft to sixteen, delivering 33% schedule growth.

A whopping 14 new routes will be added, including service to four fantastic new destinations. Three new cities will be added to Flair’s network in the US, allowing Canadians to finally travel affordably to San Francisco, Nashville, and Denver.  Flair will also launch Comox as a second gateway to Vancouver Island, complementing existing service to Victoria and allowing visitors to explore even more of the island.

“Travelling and reconnecting with friends will be among the top priorities for many Canadians in the coming months, and Flair is continuing our growth by adding more aircraft and routes so we can bring sustainably low fares to even more iconic destinations across North America,” said Stephen Jones, President and CEO, Flair Airlines. “Whether you’re looking for a weekend break on Vancouver Island or hiking in the Rockies, Flair will get you there affordably.”

With the addition of these four aircraft, Flair will create 150 new jobs for flight attendants, pilots and operational support staff. Flair is currently recruiting for 100 pilot positions to meet the needs of its growing fleet.

Flair is adding new 737 MAX aircraft as it strives to achieve the lowest cost per seat mile of any Canadian airline. The aircraft deliver fuel savings and reduce the airline’s CO2 emissions by 14%. Lower per passenger emissions are a vital step in lowering Flair’s carbon footprint as it works to become Canada’s greenest and most sustainable airline.

Fares to US destinations start between $99 and $129 CAD one-way and several of the new domestic Canadian routes have fares as low as $49 CAD one way, including taxes and fees. All routes and schedule details can be viewed at https://www.flyflair.com.

Flair is also starting service to 6 US destinations this Fall and currently serves 18 destinations in Canada. Flair is growing to serve 28 destinations by spring 2022. 

Toronto Pearson Base Grows to 5 Aircraft

The addition of two aircraft based in Toronto will grow Flair’s footprint to five aircraft. Flair will be providing low fares on nonstop flights to 19 destinations from Toronto Pearson Airport.

“We are excited to welcome Flair’s new routes as they expand their network and offer Canadians more options to travel to the U.S. as well as the picturesque destination of Victoria, BC. Passengers travelling through Pearson can do so confidently with many measures in place to keep them safe, such as no- and low-touch check-in and bag drop, improved air quality and contactless shopping and dining options,” said Craig Bradbrook, Chief Operating Officer, Greater Toronto Airports Authority.

Edmonton Base Opening in December

In December, Flair will be opening a base in Edmonton with the addition of a new aircraft and adding new nonstop service to Hollywood-Burbank, Las Vegas, Palm Springs and Phoenix-Mesa. The spring addition of routes to Nashville, San Francisco, Comox, Regina, Montreal, Winnipeg and Saskatoon will join the nonstop flights Flair currently provides to 7 domestic destinations from Edmonton.

“Grab a guitar and get ready to go! Edmonton loves country music and we’re excited to have Nashville joining our list of non-stop destinations. All new and added service supports our recovery which is important for both our business community and leisure travellers. I want to thank Flair for adding these American destinations along with significant increases in service for several Canadian cities. I’m confident our community will embrace these flights and this increased service from Flair,” said Tom Ruth, President and CEO, Edmonton International Airport.

Additional Vancouver Growth

Adding a third aircraft to the Vancouver base allows Flair to expand service in Western Canada. The nonstop flights to San Francisco and Kelowna will follow new service starting this Fall that includes nonstop flights from Vancouver to Hollywood-Burbank, Palm Springs, Phoenix-Mesa and Las Vegas.

“We are thrilled to support the growth of Flair’s network from YVR. This latest announcement will mean new options out of YVR to popular destinations to BC’s interior and south of the border,” said Russell Atkinson, Director, Air Service Development, Vancouver Airport Authority. “With more people being vaccinated and travel measures easing, we look forward to continued increased service from Flair which will benefit the community and the economy that supports it.”

ULCC Growth Benefits Canadian Travellers

With the addition of new aircraft and more capacity, Flair is providing more affordable air travel options across Canada and to the USA. As travel returns, Flair’s low fares will help kickstart tourism and reconnect families.  

“We’re excited to welcome Flair Airlines to Nashville International Airport®, which means more connectivity between Nashville and Canadian destinations,” said Doug Kreulen, Nashville International Airport president and CEO. “Edmonton is an outstanding new addition to BNA’s® portfolio of international flights, and more service to Toronto is great news for everyone. We look forward to welcoming Flair passengers to Nashville next April with ultra-low fares.”

“Expanding Denver’s global connectivity not only aids in our economic recovery, it also continues to elevate our city as a global hub,” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “As borders reopen and we begin to welcome back international travel, the investment by Flair into Denver is a big boost for our community and local businesses.”

“We’re excited to see our partnership with Flair continue to evolve as we work to restore in-demand travel options interrupted amid the pandemic,” said Barry Rempel, President and CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority. “The return of this route will provide travellers with additional, convenient options when flying between Winnipeg and Edmonton, whether to visit family and friends or pursue business or study opportunities. We look forward to welcoming back this popular route, meeting our community’s needs through services at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport.”

“Skyxe is excited to be expanding our relationship with Flair Airlines. Edmonton is a high traffic market for Saskatoon, and we hope the addition of Flair’s low cost service option will allow many of our residents to visit friends and family in Edmonton more often,” said Stephen Maybury, CEO of Skyxe Saskatoon Airport.

“We’re very excited that Flair Air has chosen Comox as the gateway to central Vancouver Island,” said Mike Atkins, CEO of the Comox Valley Airport Commission. “As air travel continues to rebound, Flair’s service to Calgary and Edmonton will provide incredible low-cost options to visitors, businesses and friends and family alike. We can’t wait to share the beauty of Vancouver Island with Flair’s passengers.” 

“We are delighted to see more options for passengers on the very popular Vancouver – Kelowna and Victoria – Kelowna routes as we continue to see more growth by Flair out of Kelowna,” said Sam Samaddar, Airport Director, Kelowna International Airport.

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 28 cities across Canada and the U.S. For more information, please visit http://www.flyflair.com.

New Destinations for March & April 2022:

USA

  • Nashville, TN (BNA)
  • Denver, CO (DEN)
  • San Francisco, CA (SFO)

CANADA

  • Comox, BC (YQQ)

New Routes

USA

  • Toronto – Nashville (YYZ-BNA) – 2x weekly starting April 14, 2022
  • Toronto – Denver (YYZ-DEN) – 3x weekly starting April 15, 2022
  • Edmonton – Nashville (YEG-BNA) – 2x weekly starting April 14, 2022
  • Edmonton – San Francisco (YEG-SFO) – 2x weekly starting April 14, 2022
  • Vancouver – San Francisco (YVR-SFO) – 3x weekly May 17, 2022

CANADA

  • Calgary – Comox (YYC-YQQ) – 3x weekly starting March 29, 2022
  • Edmonton – Comox (YEG-YQQ) – 3x weekly starting March 29, 2022
  • Edmonton – Regina (YEG-YQR) – 2x weekly starting April 14, 2022
  • Edmonton – Montreal (YEG-YUL) – 3x weekly starting April 15, 2022
  • Edmonton – Winnipeg (YEG-YWG) – 3x weekly starting April 15, 2022
  • Edmonton – Saskatoon (YEG-YXE) – 3x weekly starting April 15, 2022
  • Toronto – Victoria (YYZ-YYJ) – 1x weekly starting May 7, 2022
  • Vancouver – Kelowna (YVR-YLW) – 3x weekly starting May 16, 2022
  • Kelowna – Victoria (YLW–YYJ) – 3x weekly starting May 16, 2022

Construction underway on Waterloo International Airport’s $44M expansion

From CTV News – link to source story – Thanks PN

Link to videoFrom CTV Kitchener's Stephanie Villella: Construction has begun for a massive expansion to the Region of Waterloo International Airport.

Stephanie Villella, CTV News Kitchener Videographer & Max Martin, CTV News, Kitchener.ca Digital Content Producer

Updated Oct. 14, 2021

WATERLOO – Construction is underway on the Region of Waterloo International Airport’s $44 million expansion project.

The project should see the airport double in size in the next six months in a bid to increase the number of passengers from 70,000 in 2019 to more than one million in 2023.

Region of Waterloo Chair Karen Redman, council, and staff celebrated the occasion Thursday by putting shovels in the ground.

“It is an exciting time for the region and today is an important milestone as the airport continues to grow and drive a thriving economy,” said Redman in a release. “Airline partners have recently announced an increase in destinations and frequency of flights, which will move the airport to the next level in world-class service. This will also provide more opportunities for the Region in terms of jobs and economic expansion.”

The project, which initially broke ground this summer, includes the construction of two buildings featuring baggage carousels, holding areas, food services, retail and pre-board screening.

A rendering of the Waterloo International Airport expansion project. (Stephanie Villella/CTV Kitchener)

“The increased commercial service into our Region coupled with increased capacity gives our destination a competitive edge and bodes well for the strength and growth of the community,” said Minto Schneider, chief executive of Explore Waterloo Region.

Officials said the expansion, which is receiving $4 million from the federal government, will help drive economic growth in the region, create jobs and support tourism.

“This investment in the airport will help to ensure we are attracting people and companies to put down roots in Waterloo Region,” Redman said. “This growth is just the beginning as we build a community that is globally competitive and one of the world’s greatest places to live.”

Redman adds that about 80,000 passengers came through the airport in 2019, but that number is expected to grow by one million by 2023.

WestJet, Sunwing, Pivot Airlines, and Flair are all flying out of the regional airport, but plans are in the works for others to come.

“This has been successful, so this may see other airlines say okay maybe we should think about that,” said Chris Wood, the general manager for the airport.

In 2017, WestJet cancelled its weekly flight to Orlando due to demand issues, and in the summer Flair cancelled a number of flights out of the region’s airport as well.

“They’re not going to continue to lose money on routes that aren’t working,” said Wood. “You can now fly to Calgary. I think you could buy tickets today for $89. You could never do that before.”

The terminal expansion project is expected to be completed next spring, but the new arrivals building should be un and running by the end of 2021.

Porter Airlines returns, Flair to expand service out of Saint John Airport

From CBC News – link to source story

Within weeks, travellers will also be able to book pre-flight COVID-19 tests at airport, acting CEO says

Marie Sutherland · CBC News · Posted: October 5, 2021

Porter Airlines service to Saint John Airport returns on Wednesday. (Porter Airlines)

Flight service is steadily ramping up at Saint John Airport since its reopening three months ago, with Porter Airlines set to return this week and Flair Airlines planning to expand its flight roster.

The airport, which saw all commercial flights cancelled in December amid pandemic travel restrictions, welcomed their return on June 29 with an Air Canada flight from Montreal.

Since then, acting CEO Greg Hierlihy said Monday, business has been brisk — driven almost entirely by leisure travel and the pent-up demand from individuals separated from loved ones — and is poised to get brisker.

On Wednesday, Porter Airlines flights return to Saint John, with afternoon service to Ottawa and on to Toronto.

“They are all set to go … six days a week to Ottawa and then on to [Toronto’s] Billy Bishop airport on Toronto Island,” Hierlihy said. Flights leave at 3:25 p.m. every day, with the exception of Saturdays.

And Flair Airlines, an ultra-low-cost carrier that chose Saint John as its only New Brunswick destination, is planning to expand its current two-day-a-week service to Toronto to three days a week in March of next year.

Flair Airlines plans to expand its flights from Saint John Airport to Toronto to three days a week next year, up from the two days a week currently offered. (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Those plans have been propelled by strong uptake on their flights, which now run Wednesday and Saturday. That’s changing to Tuesday and Saturday in November, and then to Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday next year, Hierlihy said.

“The uptake has been very good on that flight,” he said.

“We had several times during the month of August where it was sold out or virtually sold out. And we’re talking about, you know, a 189-seat jet.”

Even after Labour Day, when kids go back to school and family travel cools a bit, uptake has remained relatively strong.

“There’s been a bit of a decrease, but it still remained quite steady,” he said. “They’re really good numbers. So we’re we’re quite enthusiastic … about the possibilities there.”

Overall, he said, it’s an encouraging rebound after six punishing months.

If you’d asked me a few months ago, would I be happy with those numbers, I would have said yes, absolutely. It’s the start of the recovery.- Greg Hierlihy, Saint John Airport acting CEO

As of August, business at the airport is “at about 35 per cent of where we were” in August 2019, and indications so far are that that will increase to 50 per cent by the end of the year, Hierlihy said.

“If you’d asked me a few months ago, would I be happy with those numbers, I would have said yes, absolutely. It’s the start of the recovery.”

The return of business travel, which won’t likely happen until sometime in 2022, will provide another vital boost.

“We know that business travel is still very low at this point in time, so we’re waiting for that to bounce back,” Hierlihy said.

“That’s when you’ll really see our numbers come up.”

Saint John Airport acting CEO Greg Hierlihy says travellers will be able to take pre-travel COVID-19 tests at the airport within the coming weeks. (Credit: Brian Comeau)

COVID-19 travel tests will be available at YSJ

As travel increases, so will the demand for COVID-19 tests for passengers required to show proof of a negative test upon arrival at their destination.

Within the coming weeks, Hierlihy said, that service will be available at the Saint John Airport.

The airport has signed a lease contract with Distribution Ad Valorem, which currently offers the fee-for-service tests at the Moncton and Fredericton airports.

The company offers three testing options, including rapid antigen tests and the standard PCR tests, at a cost of between $149 and $299, depending on the type of test. The cost includes the provision of a certificate confirming date and time of testing, test result and passport number.

Hierlihy said the airport has taken several calls from travellers wondering where they can take the COVID-19 tests needed to comply with travel requirements.

“It’s hard to find that service in Saint John,” he said. “So we worked quickly to see if we could accommodate that in the airport.”

Hierlihy stressed that the tests are only for asymptomatic travellers, and must be prebooked online via the website of the airport offering the service.