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‘We’re here to stay,’ Flair Airlines CEO says after spring flights cut

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The CEO of Flair Airlines said the company is committed to “meeting the needs of Canadian travelers” as the company cut hundreds of flights in Canada this spring.

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

Stephen Jones, CEO of Flair, said the cuts, first reported by the Globe and Mail, were not made in response to the closure of budget airline Lynx Air last month, adding that the calendar for March, April and May had been published. 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 program following the closure of Lynx Air.”

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

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

Even though the total number of flights is down, he suggested capacity is actually up.

“Overall capacity, as measured by the industry standard metric of available seat miles (ASM), is up 4 percent compared to the same period from March to May of last year,” a Jones said.

“More than 70% of ASMs last winter season were deployed to warm weather destinations. These routes are generally longer than domestic routes, so we operate further but slightly fewer flights.

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

The CEO also rejected any suggestion that the flight cuts were a result of the company’s financial woes.

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

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

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

“I want to assure all Canadians that Flair Airlines firmly believes that the ULCC model has the potential to thrive in Canada. We are here to stay, resilient and committed to continuing to meet 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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