Canadian ultra-low-cost carrier Flair Airlines has significantly expanded its fleet with the addition of 13 Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes. This will make it the fourth airline in Canada to operate the MAX, following Air Canada, WestJet, and Sunwing Airlines.
Flair Airlines invests big in the MAX
Flair Airlines has undergone major changes over the past few years, including two rebrandings and a business model shift. Now the airline has transformed the complexion of its fleet with the announcement of 13 incoming MAX 8 planes. The MAX 8s will add to its modest fleet, which presently consists of three 737-800s.
The aircraft will be acquired on lease from 777 Partners, an investment firm based in Miami with 25% ownership of Flair Airlines. 777 Partners have themselves recently signed off on purchasing 24 new MAX 8s directly from Boeing, with the option for a further 60 planes. Flair Airlines will start taking delivery of its MAXs in early 2021.
As an ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC), Flair Airlines needs to be cost-efficient in every way it can. The MAX 8 will allow Flair Airlines to operate at the lowest cost per seat mile in Canada, supporting its ULCC model. Stephen Jones, President & CEO of Flair Airlines, said,
“Our efficient new aircraft will provide us the foundation to execute our ULCC business model. These planes will enable us to keep fares low while expanding our service to meet travel demand.”
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Bringing affordable and sustainable travel to Canadians
Investing in the MAX helps Flair Airlines accomplish many of its goals. With a range exceeding 6,500km, the airline can expand its network and provide more affordable flight options for Canadians. Secondly, with CO2 reductions of 14% and greater fuel-efficiency, the MAX brings Flair Airlines closer to its goal of becoming Canada’s most sustainable airline. The airline is also looking to realize its ‘F50’ dream – to expand to 50 planes in the fleet within five years.
In preparation for the arrival of the MAX 8, Flair Airlines will begin training its pilots and crew to work with its new fleet. The airline presently operates a fleet of just three 737-800s with an average age exceeding 10 years. In 2019, the airline announced it was mulling over fleet options and retired all seven of its 737-400s. President and CEO, Mr. Jones, welcomed the new planes, saying,
“The days of limited choices and frustration with high fares from legacy carriers are gone. Flair, and ultra-low-cost travel, is here to stay. No longer will Canadians pay a premium to explore their own country.”
Canada recertifies the MAX
Canada became the latest country to lift restrictions on the MAX last week. WestJet has already reintroduced the MAX to its schedule, with Air Canada set to follow on February 1st. However, Transport Canada has mandated changes carriers must implement before the MAX can fly again. This includes updating software for the Flight Control Computer related to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).
Will this bold move pay off for Flair Airlines? Share your thoughts in the comments.