It has been a long and winding road for Canada Jetlines. On paper, the airline has been around since 2006. It has proved proficient at garnering media attention and making exciting announcements – often prematurely. Thirteen years since inception there are still no actual Canada Jetlines planes. This begs the question; when, if ever, will Canada Jetlines launch flights?
The current launch date remains 17th December 2019. In May, we reported that Canada Jetlines had leased two A320s from SmartLynx Airlines SIA. The airline then said it was on track to start flying in December.
In June, Simple Flying noted that the December launch was still on track. The airline was looking at running 10 flights a day out of Vancouver International Airport over the winter.
Not much seems to have changed. 17th December is still the launch date. For an airline with a penchant for publicity, it’s the absence of news that makes this interesting. December is only five months away. Could it be that this is actually going to happen?
It’s been a long and winding road
If Canada Jetlines flights do take off in December, it will have been a long time coming.
CAPA notes that Canada Jetlines had plans to launch flights in Q3 2014 from Vancouver. The launch was postponed due to ‘bad weather’. I checked the weather in Vancouver today and that storm has cleared. Not much is known about the aborted 2014 launch, and Canada Jetlines website certainly isn’t saying. CAPA merely notes it. Even the volatile but informative Wikipedia entry on the airline only notes that the then embryonic airline was raising capital in 2014.
In July 2014, Canada’s Global News was reporting that Canada Jetlines was planning to start flying from undisclosed airports in the 2015 Spring using A319 aircraft.
That also didn’t happen, although in January 2015, Air Transport World was reporting that Canada Jetlines was on track for a mid-year 2015 launch using two used Boeing 737 Classic planes. They were to be based in Vancouver.
The Globe and Mail reported in March 2015 that the launch was back to September 2015. They also noted that efforts to raise significant capital had largely failed. The newspaper reported that investments thus far had been in small amounts, sometimes less than CAD$5,000. The newspaper noted that the September launch was by no means a done deal.
A report in February 2017 in Business in Vancouver says that 2015 launch was ‘abruptly canceled’. The cause appeared to be financing. There was a deal being negotiated that dated back to 2014 involving a reserve takeover by Inovent Capital Inc. But that deal fell through as the 2015 launch date neared and Canada Jetlines’ source of financing disappeared.
So what’s changed?
The key difference between those ill-fated years and 2019 is that Canada Jetlines appears to have locked down sufficient financing.
Just last week, Canada Jetlines put out a media release that provided a financing update. Its two principal finance partners are SmartLynx (of the leased A320’s) and South Korean venture capital outfit InHarv. That financing deal was locked in back in 2018 but was streamlined earlier this month.
Canada Jetlines’ Executive Chairman, Mark Morabito, said last week’s financing tweak;
“… will help facilitate the completion of the balance of the financing required to launch airline operations”
The value of the financing appears to be CAD$15 million – a fair step up from those smaller $5,000 investments five years ago.
Canada is one of the busiest aviation markets in the world. It also has a history of high fares and average service from legacy carriers. You might conclude from this that the time is ripe for a ULCC in Canada.
The financing is in place, the planes are ordered, the lessor is on board and the slots are granted. It could be full steam ahead.
Still, with a history like Canada Jetlines’, anything could happen between now and December. Let’s hope the weather stays fine.