Canada Jetlines, Canada’s newest startup airline, has taken its inaugural flight. The service departed Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) on September 22nd, landing at Calgary International Airport (YYC) hours later. The inaugural flight received a proper send-off in Toronto from airline executives, the board of directors, and even the city’s mayor.
Having arrived in Calgary, the flight was greeted by a crowd gathered for the inauguration ceremony. This began with a symbolic ribbon cutting followed by speeches from airline executives. After the ceremony, the aircraft was turned and flown back to Toronto.
The airline chose the route of Toronto to Calgary to be its first for a few reasons. It chose Toronto as its operational hub as it is the largest airport in the country and currently offers many connecting flight options for its passengers. As it grows, it plans to build a significant presence at the airport, offering connections all around the country. It chose to fly to Calgary before any other destination because of the city’s considerable appeal to tourists, noting it has something for everyone, from its unique culture to close National Park access.
The new airline is promoting itself as an “all-Canadian” carrier, and is founded on a business model crafted to serve leisure travelers. The airline hopes to take advantage of the recent rise in travel demand as it begins operations. Demand for leisure travel has reached record highs this year, and Canada Jetlines sees this as fuel for rapid growth. It anticipates that the demand will persist through the coming months and years.
The CEO of Canada Jetlines, Eddy Doyle, shared the appeal that the Calgary route offers the airline and its customers. Doyle stated,
“Canada Jetlines is excited to offer service on our inaugural day out of our Toronto travel hub to the vibrant destination of Calgary.
“With a focus on leisure travel, we’ve selected Calgary as our first destination for its dynamic touristic options, expansive natural splendor, and reach to a key segment of Canadians. We’re thankful to the airport and the community for their support in allowing us to take to the skies with our inaugural flight.”
The airline intends to operate the Toronto-Calgary route twice-weekly, once on Thursdays and once on Sundays. It plans to increase this service to three weekly flights before the busy holiday travel season arrives. It currently flies the route on its sole Airbus A320. By the year 2025, it plans to operate 15 A320s. The additional 14 aircraft are expected to be acquired at a rate of five per year. These new assets will allow the airline to expand further into the Canadian market to build the airline it envisions.
Canada Jetlines uses a maximum seating arrangement to keep its ticket prices low. Photo: Canada Jetlines
Since the pandemic, the Canadian air travel market has seen multiple new players take center stage. Canada Jetlines will have to compete with two young, low-cost Canadian air carriers: Swoop Airlines, which began operations in 2018 and is a subsidiary company of WestJet, and Flair Airlines, which has rapidly expanded since its recent start. This competition is only heightened by the fact that two far larger airlines currently dominate the market: Air Canada and WestJet. Canada Jetlines will need to secure a foothold in this market soon if it is to survive.
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