As reported last month, the airline and its wholesale subsidiary, Jetlines Vacations, will market and sell seats on GlobalX public charter flights, on GlobalX aircraft, between Toronto and Miami. Flights will operate for six weeks, from March 4 to April 17, 2022, and tickets are expected to go on sale before the end of December 2021.
The 6-week race will help Canada Jetlines enter the market, says Doyle. Currently, the airline is awaiting the green light from the Canadian Transportation Agency for its own operations, which will then review evidence of the airline’s adequate funding submission.
Canada Jetlines have tried to take off in one form or another over the past few years, but with different leadership teams. The current leadership team – including Doyle as CEO and fellow industry veteran Duncan Bureau as Commercial Director – appear to be gaining momentum.
It remains to be seen whether the Canadian market needs another airline – or can absorb even more capacity – to emerge from the uncertainty of a pandemic.
So far, the company’s ramp-up plan appears to be measured, with one aircraft slated for delivery in March 2022, three more in July 2022, seven more in June 2023, 12 in June 2024, and 15 in June. 2025. All planes will be A320s, with all seats in economy class, with additional comfort seats available at a higher price.
The pandemic “provided a rare opportunity to make incredible deals” on planes, the company says.
TRAVEL AGENTS ARE A PRIORITY
As Doyle pointed out yesterday, Canada Jetlines aims to operate its first commercial flight in the second quarter of 2022 and wants to introduce flights from Toronto to the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and Canadian destinations throughout 2022.
In 2023, the goal is growth from Toronto and new direct flights to the Caribbean from Atlantic Canada. By 2024, the airline aims to enter the western Canadian market and continue to expand through 2025 with more destinations in the United States and the Caribbean from points of entry across Canada.
And he wants to do it all with the help of travel agents.
As the former President of Air Canada Rouge and with years of experience in the airline industry, the CCO Duncan Bureau of Canada Jetlines knows the strength behind the travel agent distribution channel.
Perhaps that is why “traditional travel agencies” were at the top of Canada Jetlines’ list of distribution channels during yesterday’s presentation. Traditional travel agencies were followed by TMCs, the airline’s online booking engine and call center, OTAs, tour operators and consolidators.
“We want to be on as many shelves as possible,” says Bureau. “Whatever way the consumer prefers to watch and book, we’ll be there. “
He added that Canada Jetlines is currently in talks with a number of retail travel groups, with deals pending. “We are actively working with strategic partners,” he said.
In October 2021, Canada Jetlines announced its partnership with Softvoyage. The technology provider will give Jetlines customers access to hotels, attractions, airline packages and other ancillary travel services. It will also ensure distribution to the airline via the group’s network, both on a B2B and B2C basis. As the Bureau notes, Softvoyage’s SIREV is used by over 90% of travel counselors in Canada.
There is no shortage of airlines in the Canadian market, and overcapacity has been a chronic problem for the past few years, particularly towards winter sun destinations.
And Canada Jetlines isn’t the only carrier with plans for growth and expansion.
Flair Airlines is expanding rapidly, with additional service to the United States and Mexico. Porter Airlines plans to add up to 80 new jets to its fleet, opening destinations in Western Canada and the West Coast of the United States from new gateways, including Pearson Airport in Toronto, as well as potential sunspots in Mexico and the Caribbean. And last month another upstart – Lynx Air – entered the fray.
Meanwhile, Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, WestJet and Swoop, as well as Sunwing and Transat, in most cases have decades in this market.
Canadian travelers – and the travel industry – have seen start-up airlines come and go. And while the pent-up demand resulting from the pandemic is undeniable, uncertainty and the glut of capacity are two big unknowns.
Bureau says Canada Jetlines goal is to be Canada’s preferred leisure airline. And it wants to be a sustainable, profitable airline and tour operator.
When asked if Canada Jetlines would compete with Flair Airlines and their “crazy prices,” Bureau said, “We are not a low cost carrier, and we are not a super low cost carrier. We will establish a competitive price for our product in the market. We all know it doesn’t cost $ 29 to fly a plane from Toronto to Vancouver. We will not lead the race to the bottom. We will walk before we run.
He added that Canada Jetlines will work with tour operators. “We believe the right way to start an airline is through a charter operation.”