The NewLeaf Travel Company has announced their new flight schedules and prices starting on February 12. Winnipeg is the headquarters and main hub for the airlines and travel will be between seven cities. For Winnipeggers the travel will be between Abbotsford, Kelowna and Hamilton.
Introductory rates are as low as $99 for Winnipeggers with all fees and taxes included.
The website says: “Your fare gets you the two essentials: a seat and a seatbelt. The rest is up to you.”
Ultra low cost means you pay extra for printing a boarding pass, carry-on luggage or drinks.
The company will fly two 156 seat Boeing 737-400 aircrafy leased from Kelowna’s Flair Airlines. As more employees and destinations to places in Canada, United States, Mexico and the Carribbean increase, the goal is to expand to 15 aircrafts.
The burst of excitement after the announcement caused the system to crash, but it’s back up and running.
WestJet which started in 1996 with three aircraft and low rates says they will vigourously defend their market.
The market is tough for Canadian airline start-ups. CanJet failed last year in Halifax. Jetsgo stopped right in the middle of March break stranding passengers in 2005. Canada 3000 failed after September 11 in 2001.
Greyhound Airlines was the last discount passenger start-up in Winnipeg in 1996 but failed a year later in 1997.
NewLeaf Travel looks to be located on property at the Richardson International Airport. They appear to have a plan and they are sticking to it. They also appear to have the people to really make a go of it.
Canada’s problems with air travel is that the country has a lot of east-west geography which means higher costs to run the aircraft. It will be a real test to build traffic between some cities. However, if the idea of ultra low cost takes off, the airline could be well positioned for this niche in the market.
It is hard not to peg ultimate success for this airline not for flights within Canada but to holiday destinations such as Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Mexico, Cuba.
This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations