Airline drops plans to fly to Ottawa and Atlantic Canada in 2020
Hobbled by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian ultra low-cost carrier Flair has abandoned expansion plans set for this summer.
Flair revealed a summer schedule Wednesday featuring a half-dozen cities spread mostly across the vast distances of Western Canada.
The airline had hoped to expand Eastward this summer, announcing new service to Charlottetown, Saint John, New Brunswick, and the nation’s capital, Ottawa. Those destinations have now been dropped.
“Due to the current provincial travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, we feel this is the best balance right now for both the provinces, and for Flair as a business,” said John Mullins, Vice President of Customer Experience and Airports in a statement. “Safety comes first for Flair and our customers are our priority.”
Just last week, Mullins told Western Aviation News in an interview that the airline was maintaining its hopes of expansion, though he acknowledged the global pandemic was throwing those plans into doubt. He said that flights last week were seeing load factors in the 65-70% range.
“This is only temporary,” he said in the statement. “Flair is proud to bring Canadians affordable and friendly air travel and we look forward to providing more choice to our customers for their travel needs. We will be there for Ottawa and Atlantic Canada as soon as everyone is ready for our arrival.”
Flair will concentrate instead on flights between points in Western Canada where the airline faces little competition from private cars because of the vast distances between population centres.
It will continue its practice of flying four transcontinental flights a week in each direction between Toronto and Vancouver. Two days will feature stops in Edmonton, and two in Calgary.
Flair is also adding Winnipeg and Kelowna to its list of destinations, bringing the nation-wide total to six. Kelowna – Flair’s former corporate base – will see four departures a week, twice to Edmonton and twice to Calgary. Winnipeg will also see four departures a week, twice to Toronto and twice to Calgary.
The airline said passengers booked on flights to cancelled destinations will be contacted with instructions how to receive refunds.