Swoop winter schedule shows major capacity shift to Toronto


Toronto-Pearson becomes Swoop’s busiest base for the winter season.

Airline’s former Eastern base in Hamilton reduced to just eight weekly flights.

Swoop Toronto
A Swoop Boeing 737-800 taxis at Abbotsford International Airport in August 2019 (photo: Brett Ballah).

Canadian ultra low-cost carrier Swoop has begun releasing its 2020 winter schedule, showing a major shift in capacity from Hamilton to Toronto.

The airline announced last week that it would fly into Canada’s busiest airport for the first time in 2020. It was a major change in strategy for the Westjet subsidiary. Swoop has avoided the parent airline’s major hubs in Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary until this year. There is no indication Swoop will add service to either Vancouver or Calgary.

At the time, Swoop said it would maintain some flights from Hamilton, but said details would have to wait for the winter schedule. Now that the schedule is being opened for bookings beyond the end of October, it is becoming clear just how little is left.

Hamilton, once Swoop’s busiest airport, is showing just four weekly flights after the end of October, all of them to Edmonton. Swoop has shifted flights to Abbotsford, British Columbia, Halifax, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Montego Bay, and Cancun from Hamilton to Toronto.

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 16: Swoop has re-introduced four weekly flights between Hamilton and Abbotsford, British Columbia through the winter.

Hamilton served nearly one million passengers in 2019. The combined impact of the pandemic and Swoop’s capacity shift to Toronto will surely decimate that figure in 2020.

“While navigating the impacts of COVID-19, the Airport remains committed to restoring passenger operations and will continue to demonstrate to both passenger and cargo carriers the economic benefit of flying to and from Hamilton International,” the airport said in a release last week.

Toronto to lead Swoop cities

The move to Mississauga has already met with some pushback.

“We hate flying out of Toronto,” wrote Jim in response to a story by Western Aviation News. “Hamilton is such an easy airport to quickly get in and out of. I’m sure rates will climb flying out of Toronto. Thanks for nothing SWOOP.”

Toronto is poised to become Swoop’s busiest city this winter as part of a COVID-reduced schedule. The airline plans 39 departures a week. They include daily departures to Halifax, and six flights a week to Abbotsford and Edmonton.

The schedule also shows a return to international flying starting in late October. Swoop suspended all service outside Canada in mid-March.

Swoop is offering flights for sale from Pearson to the United States, Mexico, and Jamaica starting October 25. The airline has traditionally most of its money in the winter flying Canadians to sunny destinations in the South.

BELOW: Swoop services. Turn on different layers to compare Swoop routes in 2019 (in light pink) and 2020 (in deep pink).

Edmonton will be Swoop’s second-busiest destination this winter, with 26 weekly departures, including daily flights to Abbotsford and service six days a week to Toronto. Swoop is planning to relaunch to Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Mexico from Edmonton.

Schedules in flux

It is not clear, however, what impact the pandemic will have this winter. Swoop president Charles Duncan told Western Aviation News in an interview that COVID is making it difficult to plan more than a month ahead.

On top of that, government border closures and travel restrictions threaten even the most carefully considered plans. As a result, schedules are in near-constant flux.

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