By Winston Shek
OWG Takes Delivery of its First Boeing 737-800
One of Canada’s newest airline ventures, OWG, plans to acquire its first Boeing 737-800, entering service in 2022. The subsidiary of Quebec-based charter airline Nolinor Aviation, OWG intends to modify the aircraft cabin to meet its image and standards.
OWG will receive an ex-Air Transat 737, registered as C-FMBO, according to ch-aviation. Currently, the aircraft is slated to seat 189 passengers in a full economy-class configuration. Previously acquired by Frank DeManaris, the bird was slated for service via a lease with Chrono Aviation, a Quebec-based airline, for charter purposes. It is unknown why Chrono Aviation canceled plans for the lease of the Boeing 737-800.
With the acquisition of the aircraft, Off We Go expects to add more than 20 new jobs. In a statement, Mr. Marco Prud’Homme, President of Nolinor Aviation, states, “Our team spent the past year planning this moment and we look forward to flying again when it will be safe to do so. With this new 737-800 aircraft, OWG will offer the HIGH LOVE experience towards more destinations. It is the next logical step for us.”
Currently, OWG operates two Boeing 737-400s, with a third Boeing 737-400 incoming. These aircraft are 31 years old, featuring 158 seats in a full economy-class configuration. As borders are currently closed in Canada, Nolinor Aviation is using the aircraft for charter operations.
Anticipating a return to normalcy, OWG expects to deploy its’ Boeing 737-800 on longer-range routes that its fleet of Boeing 737-400 cannot operate. The Quebec-based carrier intends to reveal its full flight schedule in the coming weeks. In April 2021, OWG obtained a foreign carrier permit to fly to the United States by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Later in July, the airline received permission to fly to Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
In an interview with La Presse, Mr. Marco Prud’Homme commented on the range bonus the Boeing 737-800 offered, stating, “With the 737-400, we were limited to certain destinations on our game plan. The 737-800, obviously, will help us get to Mexico.”
However, these routes will face vigorous competition from a multitude of Canadian carriers, depending on the destination or origin. For example, a flight to the Miami area from Toronto faces competition from Air Canada, Air Transat, Flair Airlines and WestJet. Meanwhile, a flight from Toronto to Puerto Vallarta receives competition from Air Canada, Air Transat, Sunwing Airlines and Swoop.
Low-cost carriers like Flair Airlines and Swoop are growing their networks to the United States for the winter to sunny destinations in Florida and the Western United States. Meanwhile, other carriers like Air Canada are ramping up capacity to “sunny destinations” as Canadian borders reopen. Last week, Air Canada announced new routes from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, for example.
In July 2020, Nolinor Aviation announced its venture into leisure travel with OWG, unveiling a partnership with Hola Sun Holidays a week later. From its hubs at Toronto’s Pearson and Montreal’s Trudeau, OWG operated flights to Cayo Coco, Holguin, Santa Clara and Varadero in Cuba. Delayed to December due to COVID-19 restrictions, these flights lasted until February 2021, when Canada enacted travel restrictions for flights to Cuba.
While OWG flights are not operating, flights will ultimately restart for winter 2021/2022 season, with the Boeing 737-800 allowing for more opportunities for the carrier. According to a news release from OWG in February, “The current discontinuation of flights allows us to prepare ourselves thoroughly for the eventual resumption of our operations to the south.”