Flair Airlines

Kelowna winner in ULCC summer schedules

A Flair Airlines Boeing 737-400 departs Vancouver International Airport February 5, 2019.

Kelowna, British Columbia is shaping up to be a big winner as Canada’s ultra low-cost airlines reveal their plans for the summer.

Flair Airlines, which was based in Kelowna until last year, has announced on social media it is adding four flights a week to Calgary. Another four flights are being added to Vancouver. The flights supplement Flair’s existing service to Edmonton, where the company is now based, which jumps to five departures a week during the summer months.

Not to be outdone, competitor Swoop announced earlier it would start serving Kelowna as a new destination in the summer, when it adds flights to Winnipeg three times a week, starting May 24.

Unlike Swoop, Flair has not announced its full summer schedule, though it has said on social media that it will reveal a “new Flair” on February 13.

Ultra low-cost carriers offer low base fares, then charge for all the extras, including printed boarding passes and, in many cases, for carry-on luggage.

The new routes come as cities large and small clamour for low-cost air services.

Air Canada, Westjet, Pacific Coastal, Central Mountain Air, Alaska and Air North all also offer extensive services to the city in the Okanagan Valley, including flights as far as Toronto.

Kelowna recently surpassed Victoria as the 10th busiest airport in Canada, serving more than two million passengers in 2018, setting a record in the process.

Meanwhile, planned ulcc carrier Canada Jetlines announced Thursday it would use Vancouver International Airport as its main base of operations. Although it has yet to fly, Jetlines has been making a flurry of announcements of late, aiming to fly across Canada and to the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Airport2018 passengers2019 passengers
Abbotsford, B.C.842,212*1,008,176*
Charlottetown, P.E.I.370,730*383,183*
Fredericton, N.B.423,234*427,085*
Kamloops, B.C.351,631361,586*
Kelowna, B.C.2,080,372*2,032,144
Moncton, N.B.681,473*674,406
Nanaimo, B.C.435,394
Prince George, B.C.506,486
Quebec City1,774,841*
Saskatoon1,518,980*1,490,000 (est.)
Thunder Bay869,404*
Winnipeg4,500,000* (estimate)4,500,000 (est.)
* – record (sources: airport reports)