NewLeaf Travel, a discount resale carrier, has officially begun operation after waiting months for a license review from the Canadian Transportation Agency, which found it was ultimately not required.
Because NewLeaf only sells tickets for flights under Flair Air, and does not actually operate their own aircraft, the agency found – after reviewing their own regulations – no need for the standard airline license usually required. The argument for the license did suspend service for about five months.
The first flight, a Boeing 737-400 series jet, arrived in Winnipeg from on July 25 carrying 154 passengers out of the possible 166.
NewLeaf uses a "ultralow cost" flight model, which means the fare paid by the passenger covers only the seat. With tickets between $99 and $150 USD, all other services, like the standard baggage check, food and entertainment is provided for additional fees.
“Based on past performance, unfortunately I’m going to have to only give it about a 10 per cent chance of success," McMaster University business professor Marive Ryder told CKNW News. "In the last 25 years, we’ve seen 20 airlines start and only two have survived: WestJet and Porter. The rest have bit the dust.”
The passenger company, which purchases seats on planes in bulk before reselling them to passengers, will provide service between Hamilton and Saskatoon, Halifax, Kelowna, Winnipeg and Regina Canada.
Kelowna International Airport (YLW) will gain three new destinations, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Regina, from the addition of NewLeaf.
"If we look at these three destinations, they are the three biggest destinations that we don’t fly to today," YLW Airport Manager Sam Samaddar, told Castanet.net. "Certainly Winnipeg has been something we’ve been looking at for sometime.”