ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST

Consumers Scramble as Lynx Shutters on Monday; WestJet Steps Up

Lynx Air

The Canadian airline industry is about to have one less competitor, and Canadian consumers are scrambling.

The news that Lynx Air will roll up its operations on 26FEB at 12:01 a.m. MT sent shock waves through the Canadian business world, and leaves Flair Airlines as Canada’s only ultra-low-cost carrier.
The announcement came as Lynx said it had sought and obtained an initial order for creditor protection from the Court of King's Bench of Alberta.

In a news release, Calgary-based Lynx said a combination of factors, including high fuel costs and airport fees, has made it impossible for them to continue operating.

“Over the past year, Lynx Air has faced a number of significant headwinds including rising operating costs, high fuel prices, exchange rates, increasing airport charges and a difficult economic and regulatory environment," the company said in a news release.

"Despite substantial growth in the business, ongoing operational improvements, cost reductions and efforts to explore a sale or merger, the challenges facing the company's business have become too significant to overcome."

According to the Globe and Mail, Lynx said in a court filing that it is unable to repay its loans, faces unspecified enforcement actions from suppliers and barely has enough cash to operate day-to-day.

 “Certain critical service suppliers have recently elected to take enforcement actions, which, if pursued, would jeopardize the … ongoing operations, and would likely result in [Lynx’s] operations being shut down in a chaotic and haphazard manner,” the filing said.

There were reports last week that Flair was about to purchase Lynx.

When it launched in November of 2021, Lynx billed itself as an ultra-low-cost alternative to the big boys in Canadian aviation and promised “to make air travel accessible to all Canadians.”

As of 23FEB, Lynx had nine Boeing 737 Max 8’s in its fleet, the Calgary Herald reports. The company website lists 23 destinations, including major Canadian cities and U.S. locations such as Tampa, Phoenix and San Francisco. It added flights to Cancun just last week.

"We are focused on working with passengers currently in transit to find alternative arrangements to reach their destination," Lynx officials said.

The company said passengers with existing bookings are advised to contact their credit card company to secure refunds for pre-booked travel. It also directed customers to its website.

The Lynx site contains a substantial list of answers to potential consumer questions, including what to do with tickets for future flights.

“Our passengers are our priority, and to ensure we bring as many of our travellers home as possible, we will continue to operate the majority of our flights through this weekend. If your flight is cancelled, you will be notified via email. For the most up to date information, please refer to Flight Status Information | Lynx Air (flylynx.com).

“If your flight is for travel from Monday, February 26 onward, you can contact your credit card company and they will refund your flight. Please note: Lynx Air’s contact centre will not be available to assist with refunds.”

The CBC said WestJet has jumped in to aid Lynx customers.

"We recognize the immediate impact this information has on passengers and employees of Lynx, and we are committed to assisting where we can through a number of actions," reads the statement posted to their website on Thursday night.

The airline is offering deals to those impacted by Lynx's announcement, namely a 25 per cent discount for all economy fares between Feb. 22 and Oct. 26 on WestJet routes which were previously served by Lynx Air.

For travel advisors, WestJet advised Open Jaw the travel agent resource site includes the discount code for travel agent-facilitated bookings and can be found at this link: https://www.westjettravelagents.com/news_article/westjet-statement-on-lynx-air/

In a statement posted on X (formerly Twitter), Canadian Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez said he’s keeping a close eye on the situation.

"For any travellers that had a return flight booked with Lynx, I expect Lynx to help you get back home as soon as possible. I expect Lynx to fully refund you if your fare won't be honoured," he said.

"My office has been in touch with Lynx, we will continue to communicate with all parties, and we've convened calls with other airlines to see how they can help, to ensure that passengers are put first."

“The airline graveyard is filled with names like Lynx, Greyhound, Canjet, Jetsgo & many, many others. The question Canadians should be asking is why,” former Air Canada executive Duncan Dee said on his X feed.

Dee also offered up some tips for affected consumers

“Call your credit card company,” he said. “Since most Canadians book travel using their credit card, those impacted will at least be "kept whole" & are able to obtain refunds for the unused portion of airline tickets.

If you purchased flight/travel insurance check the provisions to ensure you are covered.”

The CBC said it appeared some Lynx flights were cancelled prior to Monday’s operations halt, quoting a Winnipeg woman as saying she and seven friends were stranded in Vancouver after Lynx told her it had cancelled their YVR-YWG flight.

Lynx Air flight attendants joined the Canadian Union of Public Employees just last month.

“Thank you for your support, it's been a pleasure to offer our affordable fares and great flying experience,” Lynx wrote on its X/Twitter feed. “We will leave our paw prints in the sky.”

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One thought on “Consumers Scramble as Lynx Shutters on Monday; WestJet Steps Up

  • It’s time credit card companies stopped protecting people for purchasing tickets on ULCC. People have the choice to purchase cancellation and interruption insurance, take the advice of a travel professional or roll the dice and risk their money. If WS chooses to help them out, that’s fine but the credit card companies should say sorry, “buyer beware”.

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