Budget airline Flair returns to Saint John with increased service
Starting this week, the budget carrier Flair Airlines is back for another summer at the Saint John Airport, but with more flights than offered in 2022. And
Flair will offer service to Toronto three days a week this summer, an upgrade over the two days offered last year.
The airline hasn't flown out of Saint John since October 2022, as it's been offering a seasonal service that ceased during the fall and winter seasons, according to Lori Carle, manager of marketing, public and corporate relations for the airport.
"They're coming every year — we would like them to stay longer," Carle said during an interview with Information Morning Saint John.
"Anecdotally, talking to their marketing people, they said 'our schedulers' plan is to build out in Saint John and to add more [flights].' So that gives us a lot of hope."
Recent Flair issues not a concern, airport says
Flair recently made national headlines when four of its planes were seized in Toronto, Edmonton and Waterloo, Ont., during what the company called a commercial dispute, causing flights to be cancelled.
The leased aircraft were seized by a New York hedge fund.
Flair has since filed $50-million lawsuit against several plane leasing companies, calling the seizures "unlawful." The airline alleges a trio of affiliated leasing corporations "set Flair up" to default on its leases.
Flair's allegations have not been tested in court.
Carle said the airport isn't concerned that Flair's recent troubles will impact its operations in Saint John this summer.
Flair "was really quick to reach out to our CEO, just to make sure that we were confident that they were returning to Saint John, which gave us a lot of hope," Carle said.
More Air Canada flights on the horizon
Flair is now the second airline operating out of the airport, in addition to Air Canada. Carle said the airport has heard from Air Canada that it will also be increasing its flights out of Saint John once travel picks up in the summer months.
Air Canada will be returning to five flights, "which is a wonderful thing for Saint John, travellers and business people alike," Carle said.
The additional flight offered by Flair will this summer is good news, said David Duplisea, CEO of the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce. He said the chamber has asked Air Canada to bring back an early morning flight to Toronto, as well.
"For business people that are travelling and for making connections as well, you need the options," Duplisea said.
Carle said the early flight looks like it will be back in May.
How cheap is Flair?
If someone were to depart on April 1, a one-way flight to Toronto from Saint John on the airline costs $69, after tax, with a basic ticket, which includes a personal carry-on item but nothing else.
With a basic bundle, which includes a personal carry-on item, a carry-on suitcase and a checked bag, the cost is $148.35.
The same one-way flight on Air Canada costs $648.69, which includes a personal carry-on item and suitcase carry on.