In a press conference held 01NOV, Flair Airlines shared adjusted growth expectations, revealing that it no longer anticipates having 50 aircraft in service by 2025, which was “to inspire people.” Instead, the company now aims to reach this milestone by 2027.
Stephen Jones, CEO of Flair, said, “If we think about what the 50 goal was about, it was more of a statement of our ambition and the potential for the airline and for the ULCC industry in Canada. It was always there to inspire people as to what the scale of this business can be, and we will get there.”
Flair, which currently operates a fleet of 28 aircraft, encountered setbacks in MAR 2023 when four of its Boeing 737 aircraft were unexpectedly detained due to payment issues. Flair filed a CAD $50-million lawsuit against its New York-based lessor, alleging a conspiracy involving Airborne Capital and four other companies.
Despite these challenges, the ULCC reported achievements, including 514,000 monthly passengers in AUG 2023, as part of a successful summer-and-fall schedule that saw a total of 2.3 million passengers, marking a 41% increase compared to the same period in the previous year. Load factors consistently reached 88% or higher during this period, reaching its peak at 93% in August.
Flair's future plans involve expanding its domestic routes along with service to 44 sun destinations during the 2023/2024 winter season.
Starting on 06MAY, the new nonstop flights will connect Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) three times a week. Additionally, on 31MAY, there will be twice-weekly service between Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla International Airport (GDL) in Guadalajara, Mexico. This marks the first nonstop connection between Vancouver and Guadalajara since 2004.
In a statement, Flair said one-way fares will start at CAD $49 for Toronto to Quebec City and CAD $129 for Vancouver to Guadalajara.
Compared to last summer's schedule, Flair's summer 2024 schedule will feature several significant enhancements. These include a 25% increase in capacity out of the Greater Toronto Area from aircraft bases in Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo, nearly 100% growth in flights to the United States, including destinations like Nashville, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale. The extension of popular winter routes, including Toronto to Kingston, Jamaica, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, as well as a 33% increase in service to Abbotsford, BC, ensuring continued low-cost options for the Lower Mainland.
Last month, VP of Network Planning and Revenue Mgmt, Eric Tanner, made a strong case for the strategy of ultra-low fares in a virtual Pink Couch with Open Jaw president Nina Slawek.
The press conference also introduced two new members of the Flair executive team: Ashley Fields, VP of Marketing and Communications, and Kent Breedlove, Chief Legal and Corporate Development Officer.