‘We’re here to stay,’ says Flair Airlines CEO after spring flight cuts

The CEO of Flair Airlines says the company is committed to “serving the needs of Canadian travelers” amid news that the company cut hundreds of flights in Canada this spring.

Data provided to CTV News by Cirium, an aviation analytics company, confirms there are about 600 fewer flights on the airline’s schedule in March, April and May compared to the same months in 2023, representing a reduction of around eight percent.

Flair CEO Stephen Jones said the cuts, which were first reported by The Globe and Mail, were not made in response to the closure of low-cost airline Lynx Air last month, adding that the timeline for March, April and May it was published again. in August.

“There have been no significant adjustments to our flight schedule,” Jones said in a statement released Friday. “Flair has not made any reductions to its schedule following the closure of Lynx Air.”

He went on to say that the Edmonton-based airline flies where “customers want to travel,” indicating there has been a “resurgence in demand” for warm-weather destinations like Mexico, Florida and the Caribbean.

“Compared to last year, when we flew on a predominantly domestic network, Flair Airlines has significantly increased its presence in these markets and opened more than 20 new winter sunny routes,” the statement continued.

While the total number of flights has decreased, he suggested that capacity has actually increased.

“Overall capacity, measured by the industry-standard metric by Available Seat Miles (ASM), is up four percent compared to the same period from March to May last year,” Jones said.

“More than 70% of the ASM from last winter season were deployed in warm climate destinations. These routes are usually longer than domestic routes, so we operate more flights, but a little less.”

He said the “focus on winter sun markets” has been “tremendously popular” with Flair’s customers and strong demand is expected in the coming months.

The CEO also dismissed any suggestion that the flight reductions were a result of the company’s financial problems.

Earlier this year, court documents obtained by The Canadian Press revealed that Flair Airlines owes about $67.2 million in unpaid taxes.

At the time, Jones said the company had reached an agreement with the Canada Revenue Agency to pay the taxes.

In his statement on Friday, Jones said the skepticism surrounding ultra-low-cost carriers (ULCCs) in Canada is “misplaced.”

“I want to assure all Canadians that Flair Airlines is firmly confident that the ULCC model has the potential to thrive in Canada. “We are here to stay, we are resilient and we are determined to continue serving the needs of Canadian travelers,” added Jones.

“With the closure of Lynx Air, Flair Airlines’ importance in the market has become even more pronounced. “We accept and recognize the responsibility that comes with being the only ULCC in Canada and remain committed to providing Canadians with affordable airfare.”

-With files from The Canadian Press


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