Canadian LCC Swoop Trims Offerings From Hamilton

The low-cost carrier and sub-brand of Canada’s WestJet, Swoop, is reducing some of its services out of Hamilton, Ontario. The airline’s decision to reduce service to the southern Ontario city from next month comes primarily as a result of efforts to boost operations at Canada’s busiest airport – Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Swoop is a low-cost carrier that is owned by WestJet airlines. WestJet is Canada’s second-largest carrier. Photo: Swoop

The service cuts

While Hamilton Airport was once a Swoop base for flights taking-off to Florida, Las Vegas, Jamaica, and Mexico, the base will lose these destinations to Toronto Pearson.

According to the CBC, changes will begin on Oct. 25th, leaving just one flight taking-off from Hamilton’s John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport as the airline bolsters its operations out of Toronto. A flight between Hamilton and Edmonton will operate four times weekly on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

In a statement to the CBC, a Swoop spokesperson said the following:

“The decisions on schedule and service are based on Swoop’s recovery plans and are indicative of the demand that we are seeing. Swoop is exploring every avenue that will allow us to bring affordable travel to more Canadians, which could see the schedule potentially adjust to changing demand,”

Why was Hamilton chosen in the first place?

Hamilton was chosen for the same reason Ryanair markets the Paris Beauvais Airport as serving the city of Paris, or how London Southend includes ‘London’ in its name. Hamilton’s proximity to Toronto allowed it to serve many of the residents living in Canada’s largest city, as well as the GTA – or Greater Toronto Area. Hamilton borders the GTA and is included in the broader region known as the GTHA – or Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

A look at Swoop’s December 2019 schedule. Hamilton will be losing many of its destinations. Photo: Swoop

Hamilton Airport’s location made it somewhat accessible for residents of GTA cities like Mississauga and Brampton – and even more so for communities further south. While Toronto Pearson is the more convenient choice, Swoop’s low fare could lure people into making the 45 minute or one hour drive.  Of course, for the residents of Hamilton, it was most definitely the fastest way to get to tropical destinations.

The swoop sprint
During the worst part of the pandemic, Swoop was operating “the Swoop Sprint” while service to all other destinations was cut. This route was a multi-stop flight across the country, picking up and dropping off passengers as necessary. Photo: Swoop

For WestJet affiliated Swoop, operating out of a smaller airport meant much lower fees, thereby allowing it to offer lower fares and call itself low-cost.

The airline continues by saying that it will continue to serve the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport as it feels this is a market that has served Swoop well and still holds opportunities for the budget carrier. “We are thankful for the continued support of the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport now and during our first two years of operation,” it adds.

Distinctive swoop interior
Swoop operates a single-aircraft-type fleet with just nine Boeing 737s. These jets came from parent company WestJet. Photo: Swoop

Moving to Toronto

In a July press release, Swoop said it has been working to push new operations out of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. The airport is happy to have more business from another airline, saying:

“We welcome Swoop’s decision to begin operations at Toronto Pearson. The industry has changed significantly, and we are focused on world-class health and safety measures that will ultimately reinvigorate travel at Pearson and throughout the region.” –Deborah Flint, President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority

Altogether, October will be an important month for Swoop with these moves.

What do you think of Swoop’s decisions? We’d love to hear from you – especially if you are reading this from the Greater Toronto Area! Leave a comment with your thoughts on the issue.