By John Flett
New Airline Joins Canada’s Expanding Aviation Market in Alberta
The Canadian province of Alberta will have another scheduled passenger airline operating from Calgary in 2022. Charter airline Enerjet is rebranding to Lynx Air and plans to operate an ultra-low-cost business model in competition against WestJet subsidiary Swoop that is also headquartered in the province’s most populous city.
Lynx Air will operate new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with an initial fleet of three planes due in early 2022. There are firm orders and lease agreements in place that could see the airline operating forty-six 737’s within the next seven years.
Brad McMullen, Senior Vice President of Sales, North America, Boeing Commercial Airplanes said, “Boeing’s newest 737 aircraft enables the lowest cost operation of any aircraft in its market segment, making it a great fit for Lynx Air’s ultra-low-cost business model. Passengers can feel confident in Lynx Air’s choice of a modern fleet, knowing this latest generation of aircraft are designed to offer the greatest flexibility, reliability and efficiency in the single-aisle market.”
Merren McArthur has been announced as the chief executive officer (CEO) and president of Lynx Air having previously served as CEO of ultra-low-cost carrier Tigerair Australia, CEO of Virgin Australia Regional Airlines and founding CEO of Virgin Australia Cargo.
McArthur said: “We have created an ultra-affordable fare structure which is focused on simplicity, transparency and choice. Our à la carte pricing will empower passengers to pick and pay for the services they want, so they can save money on the trip and spend where it counts – at their destination.”
The CBC reported that the airline’s network of destinations has not been confirmed but will initially be a mix of short-haul domestic services. McArthur stated, “As we evolve, we will expand to transport into the United States and ultimately internationally, providing Canadians more connections when they travel.”
The news of the introduction of Lynx Air comes a day after Swoop announced plans for a major expansion of services from Edmonton. Swoop will add services to eight Canadian cities and Palm Springs, California from the Albertan capital. This represents a 76 percent increase in capacity from Edmonton compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Charles Duncan, President of Swoop said, “This is a major milestone for Swoop as we underscore our commitment to leading the way for ultra-low fare air travel in Canada and reaffirm our position as the airline with the most destinations from Edmonton. With a strong focus on growth and Edmonton as our partner, we will continue to provide our travelers with more non-stop flights and ultra-low fares while supporting the recovery of Canada’s travel and tourism economy.”
On the same day as Lynx Air’s announcement, Edmonton, Canada-based Flair Airlines released details of expanded services to Mexico from several Canadian cities starting February 1. Flair will offer nonstop flights to Los Cabos twice a week from Vancouver, Abbotsford and Edmonton. Nonstop flights to Cancun will be twice a week from Ottawa and Kitchener-Waterloo.
“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,” Garth Lund, Flair’s Chief Commercial Officer, said. “We can’t wait to get our customers to the beach.”
Lynx’s McArthur summed up Alberta’s increased commercial aviation presence, stating, “We are excited to bring competition and choice to the Canadian aviation market at a time when Canadians are yearning for the opportunity to fly again, whether it be to see friends and family or to take a long-awaited holiday.”