How Swoop’s Network Has Been Impacted By COVID-19

**Update: 01/06/20 @ 23:58 UTC – Swoop shared additional information about its network; details below.**

This summer will mark three years since Swoop began operations. The Canadian low-cost carrier had first hit the skies in June 2018 and, like most operators, is facing difficulties with its network amid the global health crisis. Nonetheless, the airline is still performing on 15 routes this winter. Let’s take a look at how the company’s network is shaping up this season.

Swoop Plane
Swoop was forced to face a significant industry transformation soon after its debut. Photo: Swoop

Domestic focus

Before Swoop could even celebrate its first birthday, it passed a milestone of serving over a million passengers. However, amid all of the flight restrictions in place due to the pandemic, there wasn’t much to celebrate when it came to passenger activity in 2020.

anna.aero reports that the current 15 routes are down from the 37 in winter 2019, making the network currently less than half in size. Seven of the routes are domestic while eight are international. There has been a shift in concentration. Last year, 53% of the airline’s seat capacity was on international services. However, this segment only forms only 31% of the activity at the moment. Meanwhile, domestic capacity shot up to 69% from 47% year-on-year.

The currently active routes are:

  • Abbotsford – Edmonton
  • Edmonton – Toronto
  • Abbotsford – Toronto
  • Edmonton – Hamilton
  • Abbotsford – Hamilton
  • Kelowna – Toronto
  • Cancun – Toronto
  • Montego Bay – Toronto
  • Edmonton – Phoenix-Mesa
  • Orlando – Toronto
  • Edmonton – Puerto Vallarta
  • Edmonton – Mazatlan
  • Las Vegas – Edmonton
  • Halifax – Toronto
  • Tampa – Toronto
Swoop Livery
The airline currently holds nine Boeing 737s in its fleet. Photo: Swoop

Still active

The route between the two Canadian airports of Abbotsford and Edmonton is the most popular, with a two-way seating capacity of 80,136. This figure is a fifth of the airline’s whole capacity. The most popular international route is between Toronto and Cancun, with a two-way seating capacity of 22,680.

Swoop marked the start of its winter services by launching operations from Toronto Pearson Airport. It heads to the likes of Montego Bay, Edmonton, Kelowna, and Halifax from Canada’s most populous city. The airline is looking to provide Canadians in the Greater Toronto Area with a responsible travel option that is affordable with this move.

Swoop president Charles Duncan spoke about the airline’s launch at the airport. He explains that these operations form part of a wider mission to keep Canadians connected during the winter despite the challenging conditions.

According to a press release seen by Simple Flying, Duncan summarized the approach with the following:

“We are excited to be able to bring our ultra-low cost carrier model to Toronto and serve Canada’s largest city. We know that Canadians are cautious about travelling, and with the significant health and safety measures we have put in place, travellers can rest assured that their safety is our top priority.”

Simple Flying also reached out to Swoop for comment on its operations. The airline’s head of commercial and finance, Bert van der Stege, shared the following:

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Swoop’s entrepreneurial mindset has enabled us to adapt to the exceptional times we are operating in. As we head into 2021, we will be flexible and agile in response to our changing environment and continue to bring our ultra-low fares to Canadians when they need them most.”

WestJet Air Canada
Swoop isn’t the only Canadian career facing industry issues. Photo: Getty Images

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The challenge continues

Altogether, the current activity is a direct result of the complications surrounding the pandemic. With government policies still impacting travel, it’s not a surprise that Cancun is the most popular international route amid the more lenient restrictions in Mexico compared with several countries around the world. Numbers are expected to remain low until after the vaccine rollout is successful. The carrier will undoubtedly be hoping for an improved climate for when it celebrates its third birthday this June.

What are your thoughts about how Swoop has been impacted by the pandemic so far? What do you make of the airline’s network amid the present conditions? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.

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