Startup airline Canada Jetlines to fly between Calgary and Toronto starting in September

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The upstart Canada Jetlines will begin flying between Calgary and Toronto starting in September. (Canada Jetlines/Instagram - image credit)
The upstart Canada Jetlines will begin flying between Calgary and Toronto starting in September. (Canada Jetlines/Instagram - image credit)

Canada's newest discount airline announced Friday that its first scheduled flight will take off in late September.

Canada Jetlines will begin operations out of its travel hub at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Sept. 22, with twice weekly flights jetting from Toronto to Calgary and back on Thursdays and Sundays.

"The launch of Canada Jetlines is yet another milestone marking recovery in the travel and tourism sector," said Bob Sartor, president and CEO of the Calgary Airport Authority.

As of Friday, flights on the Canada Jetlines website that fly one-way from Calgary to Toronto were priced at $99 at the cheapest rate, and $254 at the highest rate. Flight cancellation and checked baggage is available at higher rates.

The airline flies the Airbus A320 as its standard, starting with one of those aircraft in 2022. The airline says it expects to fly 15 aircraft by 2025. The A320 is an all-economy jet with 174 seats.

Ravinder Minhas, a founding board member of the airline, previously told CBC News in May 2021 that Canada Jetlines regarded it as a positive time to launch, despite airlines having lost billions of dollars at that point.

"We were able to get airplanes at one heck of a price," Minhas said, adding the airline would soon be able to offer flights to sun destinations with cheaper fares.

Canada Jetlines previously planned to launch earlier this year from Toronto to Winnipeg and Moncton, but delayed and rescheduled that launch while awaiting its air operating certificate.

The airline says more routes to other destinations will be announced soon.

Rise of low-cost airlines

Canada Jetlines is the latest in a string of low-cost airlines now operating in the country.

After launching as a charter airline in 2004, Flair Airlines began offering regular service in 2018. Lynx Air, which operates a fleet of Boeing 737s, launched earlier this year.

John Gradek, a faculty lecturer with McGill University's aviation management program, said the rise of low-cost airlines has been a trend as the industry recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There has been quite a few carriers that had parked airplanes during COVID. And they're slowly taking these airplanes out of storage and bringing them back," he said.

"But there's an opportunity for a number of carriers to, in fact, look at getting airplanes that were stored, and then getting those aircraft into their own fleet by either negotiating a deal with a leasing company or buying old airplanes outright."

Submitted by Flair Airlines
Submitted by Flair Airlines

Gradek said he expects a number of carriers will show up with different service levels and different routes so as to create a different niche in the marketplace.

"Canada over the years has seen its fair share of lower cost carriers coming," he said. "The longevity for these carriers is a function of the strength of the economy. And, you know, how aggressive the existing carriers are in trying to meet or beat the price and service level offered by these carriers. So it's something we watch as these carriers evolve."

He added it will be important for Canada Jetlines to quickly add to its fleet beyond its first Airbus A320 so as to prevent delays should mechanical or other issues arise.