Canadians may have other low-cost air carriers to fly with next year.
For many years, Canada-wide travel was dominated by the country's two largest airlines, Air Canada and WestJet. However, WestJet's discount carrier, Swoop, has offered a viable alternative to historically costly routes.
Similarly, Flair Airlines, launched in 2005, has grown substantially in recent years, now servicing a whopping 28 destinations across Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Most recently, the bargain airline added a nonstop route from Vancouver Los Cabos to its ever-growing list.
But there may be some new options for Canadians looking to travel to sunny destinations on the cheap coming soon.
On Tuesday (Nov. 16), Lynx Air announced its arrival as Canada’s newest "ultra-affordable airline" with a fleet of brand-new Boeing 737 aircraft and "great customer service."
Lynx says it will adopt the ultra low-cost carrier model, which has "revolutionized air travel across Europe and the United States, offering low fares, flexibility and choice."
The airline has selected Calgary as its headquarters and plans to announce routes and schedules soon.
Merren McArthur has been named CEO of Lynx. Previously, she served as CEO of ultra low-cost carrier Tigerair Australia, CEO of Virgin Australia Regional Airlines and founding CEO of Virgin Australia Cargo.
“We are excited to bring competition and choice to the Canadian aviation market at a time when Canadians are yearning for the opportunity to fly again, whether it be to see friends and family or to take a long-awaited holiday,” McArthur said. “We have created an ultra-affordable fare structure which is focused on simplicity, transparency and choice. Our à la carte pricing will empower passengers to pick and pay for the services they want, so they can save money on the trip and spend where it counts – at their destination.”
Lynx will operate a fleet of Boeing’s newest 737 aircraft, featuring leading-edge fuel-efficient technology. The airline has firm orders and lease agreements in place for a total of 46 aircraft over the next seven years to meet anticipated demand.
The first three Boeing 737s will arrive in early 2022.
Canada Jetlines says it is the "all-Canadian airline that is all about low prices" looking to fly locals to destinations across the United States, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Pending approval from the Canadian Transport Agency and Transport Canada, the airline hopes to start selling tickets in December for travel commencing in the spring of 2022. The company also expects to grow its fleet to 15 aircraft by 2025.
In addition to offering convenient air travel options at the "lowest possible price," the airline states that it will also offer "more travel choices than competitors to coveted sun-destinations" as well as more revenue options for agents and tour operators.
The company's executive has over a combined 100 years of experience in the Canadian and global airline industry.
On Nov. 17, the airline announced that it signed a long-term "Component and Expendable Parts" agreement with Lufthansa Technik AG for its proposed A320 fleet.
In partnership with Global Crossing Airlines Group Inc., Canada Jetlines plans to offer round-trip charter flights from Toronto to Miami and Fort Lauderdale weekly over a six-week period beginning in March 2022.
These flights will be operated on GlobalX Airbus A320 aircraft. Canada Jetlines intends to start operating flights to Florida with its own A320 aircraft once it has completed its certification and receives all required government approvals.
“This partnership is exactly what we envisioned when we spun off Canada Jetlines- creating Canada’s newest low-cost airline," said Ed Wegel, Chair and CEO of GlobalX. "The alliance between the two airlines allows us to fly for each other to open new charter routes, provide additional capacity at certain peak periods for each airline and to maximize the benefits of the two networks. We look forward to flying these charter routes for our partner as the first step in expanding our alliance."
In July, another Canadian airline, Porter Airlines, announced that it was expanding its fleet with 80 new aircraft and servicing new destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico. It is rated a four-star airline in the World Airline Star Rating.
Porter currently offers flights to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Halifax, St. John’s, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, Windsor, New York (Newark), Chicago (Midway), Boston and Washington (Dulles), and has seasonal flights to Mt. Tremblant, Que., Muskoka, Ont., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Stephenville, N.L.
While the airline hasn't announced routes to western Canada yet, the latest acquisition means it can vastly expand its network moving into the future.
Porter has completed leasing agreements for up to 19 of our first 30 @embraer E195-E2 aircraft. The leases are with three aircraft leasing firms: @AzorraAviation, @Falko_ra, and Elevate Capital Partners. Learn more: https://t.co/VL6eUMbNLD pic.twitter.com/3vUu2SVLm5— Porter Airlines (@porterairlines) November 12, 2021
COVID-19 self-testing kits for travel
There are several clinics in the Lower Mainland you can visit to obtain the negative coronavirus test result needed for travel.
COVID-19 testing for travel may cost upwards of $150 CAD per person, although prices vary. Find out more information about the process and some local companies that provide the tests.
For testing from the comfort of your home, a Canadian company sells portable self-administered COVID-19 molecular and antigen test kits to avoid the hassle of visiting clinics. Find out more information about the company and its self-testing process.
Don't have your Canadian vaccination passport yet?
British Columbians looking to travel now have the option to download the new federal proof of vaccination — but there are a few things to consider before you book a flight.
On Oct. 29, Canada's vaccine card was made available to B.C. residents looking to travel in Canada and internationally.
Find out how you can get your federal proof of vaccination.