Flair Airlines Launches Low Cost Flights To The United States

Ultra-low-cost carrier Flair Airlines is continuing on its path of aggressive growth in the Canadian aviation sector. But instead of announcing new domestic services as it has in recent weeks, the airline is taking a big, bold leap into international operations with flights to the United States. Set to launch in October, the airline plans to capitalize on the desire of Canadians to get away to warmer and brighter destinations during the colder, wetter months up north.

Flair Airlines 737 MAX
Flair’s fleet will triple over the course of 2021. This is made possible with the acquisition of Boeing 737 MAX 8s. Photo: Flair Airlines

Where will Flair Airlines fly in the United States?

Flair Airlines will serve eight Canadian cities and six US destinations. The airline won’t serve every US destination from every Canadian city, but this is what the carrier has planned so far. Routes are scheduled for October 31st, 2021 – March 26th, 2022.

While we are used to seeing airlines announce new sets of routes based on the origin city, Flair’s recent announcement sorts their new services by destination.

Fort Lauderdale (FLL) from:

  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Kitchener-Waterloo (YKF)
  • Ottawa (YOW)
  • Montreal (YUL)
Flair Airlines routes
When it comes to serving Florida, Flair will use its eastern airports. Photo: GCMap.com

Las Vegas (LAS) from:

  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Ottawa (YOW)
  • Vancouver (YVR)
  • Abbotsford (YXX)
  • Calgary (YYC)
Flair Airlines US routes
Photo: GCMap.com

Orlando-Sanford (SFB) from:

  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Kitchener-Waterloo (YKF)
  • Ottawa (YOW)
  • Montreal (YUL)
  • Halifax (YHZ)
Flair Airlines US routes
Photo: GCMap.com

Combined in the map below are services for Phoenix-Mesa, Hollywood Burbank, and Palm Springs.

Phoenix-Mesa (AZA) from:

  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Vancouver (YVR)
  • Calgary (YYC)

Hollywood Burbank (BUR) from:

  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Vancouver (YVR)
  • Calgary (YYC)

Palm Springs (PSP) from:

  • Vancouver (YVR)
Flair Airlines US routes
Toronto will get the most US destinations out of Flair’s Canadian airports. Photo: GCMap.com

When asked about Flair’s decision to fly to secondary airports such as Orlando-Sanford, executives stated that this allowed for the lowest airport costs. Airport costs covered by the airline typically include landing fees and other user fees.

“SFB Airport a safe, efficient, and cost effective alternative to MCO. Flair Air recognized these benefits and we appreciate their decision.” -Tom Nolan, A.A.E, President & CEO, Orlando-Sanford Airport

With lower airport charges, the airline can pass those savings on to customers with lower fares. This is a fairly traditional strategy for low-cost carriers- with Ryanair being the most common example.

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Made possible by the 737 MAX

Flair’s ability to launch new routes at highly competitive prices is made possible with the airline’s order of 13 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. These jets will be more efficient than the airline’s first three aircraft, which are all 737-800NG models. However, on top of lower operating costs, we know that Flair’s incoming 737 MAXs are whitetails.

These whitetails are almost certainly canceled orders stemming from Boeing’s prolonged 737 MAX crisis. With an oversupply of the jets at Boeing, we suspect that Flair and its leasing partner were able to scoop up these 737s at an attractive price.

When asked about customer safety concerns regarding Flair’s MAX jets, the airline’s CEO stated that it was a non-issue. Indeed, the proportion of concerns voiced by customers has been extremely small, the CEO notes. This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, given that the majority of the traveling public is unlikely to research or even care about the type of aircraft they will be flying.

Flair Airlines 737 MAX
Flair will have 11 737 MAX jets by the fall, working towards its goal of 50 jets in five years. Photo: Flair Airlines

Bring on the competition

Simple Flying asked Flair if they were ready to handle any price wars that might arise with the other Canadian carriers. To that, the airline’s CEO stated,

“Yeah, we absolutely are- and we’re not afraid of starting them. We’re very confident in our cost base. No airline in Canada has a cost base like ours, and the [other airlines] can dress [airfares] up into whatever form their accountants want them to look like.” -Stephen Jones, CEO, Flair Airlines

With Flair’s role as a (Canadian) industry disruptor, travelers to, from, and within Canada should benefit greatly from lower fares. It should be quite interesting to see how the competition reacts in the weeks and months to come.

What do you think about Flair Airline’s venture into the US/transborder market? Will it be a success? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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