Canada Jetlines

Jetlines renegotiates aircraft leases as search for new funding continues

An artist’s impression of a Canada Jetlines-liveried Airbus A320 (photo: Canada Jetlines).

Hopeful Canadian ultra low-cost carrier Canada Jetlines has dropped references to its proposed December 17 start date from its communications, all while reiterating its belief that the country is ripe for airline competition.

In a financial and operational update released Tuesday, Jetlines said a key financer, SmartLynx, has extended a deadline to come up with new financing until the end of the month. In the meantime, the partners are renegotiating aircraft lease agreements.

“The Company continues to make progress on building out the airline and is now closer than ever to starting operations,” said Jetlines. “However, the final date for airline launch is subject to meeting the financial requirements of Canadian regulatory authorities.”

And in the notes to its most recent quarterly update to the end of June, Jetlines management issued a strong caution about those financial requirements – it needs more money to get off the ground.

“Proceeds raised from the issuance of shares will be used to further the business objectives of the Company in launching a ULCC in Canada; however further funding, in the form of debt, equity or other facilities, will be required to meet domestic licensing financial capability requirements, to complete the build-out of the airline, fulfill commitments with respect to aircraft, and for general and administrative expenditures and working capital. These material uncertainties may cast significant doubt upon the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Jetlines has issued more than 84 million shares worth some $26 million. But it has burned through more than $23 million, with no ticket sales in sight.

The rash of airline mergers in Canada – with Onex buying Westjet and the ongoing merger of Transat and Air Canada – is fueling Jetlines’ belief in the need for a new low-cost carrier.

“Jetlines believes that due to proposed consolidations resulting from a surge in M&A activity in the Canadian airline industry, the ULCC market opportunity has never been greater,” said the airline.

“The Company is looking forward to the Competition Bureau announcing its position on its ongoing investigation into WestJet’s alleged predatory pricing through its subsidiary, Swoop.”

Jetlines now has until September 30 to secure the SmartLynx investment by finding other investors. SmartLynx specializes in aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance leases, and has partnered with Norwegian and EasyJet, among others.

“I am pleased that SmartLynx has elected to push out our funding milestone,” said Jetlines Executive Chairman Mark Morabito.

At the end of the month, SmartLynx will have the option of extending the deadline again or waiving it, depending on its assessment of Jetlines’ progress.

Categories: Canada Jetlines