The next airline hoping to challenge the country’s Air Canada-WestJet duopoly is set to take its inaugural flight on Thursday.

Canada Jet Lines, a new start-up airline headquartered in Mississauga, Ont., is set to launch service from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to Calgary International Airport with twice-weekly flights.

The airline said it will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the occasion when its first flight arrives in Calgary on Thursday morning.

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Canada Jet Lines bills itself as an “all-Canadian, value-focused leisure carrier.” While Toronto-Calgary is currently its only scheduled route, the company’s chief commercial offering, Duncan Bureau, said the airline plans to serve the leisure market both domestically and cross-border with flights to the Caribbean and the US. Is.

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The airline currently has one Airbus A320 and another is due to join in December, the bureau said, with plans to expand the fleet to 15 Airbus A320s by 2025, at a rate of five aircraft per year.

Canada Jet Lines is Canada’s latest, but not the first, airline to emerge in the wake of the pandemic.

Edmonton-based Flair Airlines has been expanding aggressively over the past year and a half, and now serves 36 airports with 85 routes and a fleet of 18 aircraft.

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Calgary-based Lynx, formerly known as Enerjet, launched last spring and said at the time it expected to operate about 90 flights a week on nine routes by June, all within Canada. .

WestJet also operates its subsidiary low-fare airline, Swoop, which launched in 2018 and offers service to destinations in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.

While these competitors operate under a low-cost no-frills model, Canada Jet Lines aims to differentiate itself by serving the premium leisure market, the bureau said.

He added that he was critical of the business model used by so-called low-cost carriers such as Flair and Lynx.

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“If you’re charging less than the cost of parking your car at the airport, the economics don’t work and it’s not sustainable,” the bureau said.

The bureau said Canada Jet Lines plans to offer customers a premium experience that includes departure times that match the customer’s preference with the pilot and 174 seats instead of the standard 180 to provide more comfort. .

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WestJet has suspended several routes out of Halifax this winter.

On its website, Canada Jetlines is advertising introductory fares starting at $99 for one-way travel between Calgary and Toronto for a limited time.

For comparison, Flair offers a one-way trip from Calgary to Toronto for $49, the same route starts at $99 on Lynx and you can fly Edmonton to Toronto with Swoop for $59, according to the companies’ websites. .

Rick Erickson, an independent aviation analyst based in Calgary, said the pandemic’s destruction of the mainstream airline industry is making it possible for startup airlines to acquire parked and idled aircraft at a good price.

Such is the case with Canada Jet Lines, as the pandemic paved the way for the airline to hire available talent and acquire aircraft at lower cost.

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“I think the ones that will survive will be the ones with the deepest pockets. It usually takes 18 to 24 months for new airlines to start making a profit, so all these new players With the entry into the market, the question is ‘Who has the deepest pockets and who has the best business plan?’ Erickson.

The bureau said Canada Jet Lines plans to offer service to the U.S. within the next three months, though any official offerings and dates have yet to be announced.

Canada Jet Lines is an independent airline publicly traded on the NEO exchange.

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