Flair Airlines inks deal to fly out of Waterloo region's airport
'We couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity,' says regional Coun. Helen Jowett
Low-cost carrier Flair Airlines has plans to start flying out of the Region of Waterloo International Airport this spring.
The airline says it plans to expand as of May 1 and it's anticipated flights will go to Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Halifax multiple times a week.
Waterloo region has had airlines express interest in using the airport in the past, but in cases like Canada Jetlines which announced in 2018 it wanted to fly from the airport, plans were pushed back. The airport also saw other airlines scale back flights, including when Westjet ended seasonal flights to Florida in 2017.
This time feels different says regional Coun. Helen Jowett, who is also chair of the economic development committee.
"For sure it's the commitment and it's the approach. They're coming in hot," Jowett said Wednesday morning in an interview.
"It's a national strategy. We couldn't have asked for a better opportunity," she added, noting a low-cost airline fits in well with the future of the airport. "Because of our lower overhead, we are the perfect place for this to be."
Jowett says the region wants to see the airline operate safely and she feels confident that once non-essential travel restrictions are lifted, people will be booking flights.
"A lot of people are ready," Jowett said. "I'm excited … I can't wait to see family across Canada. It's just exciting news for us all and it's our turn."
Airline anticipates return to travel this summer
Regional Chair Karen Redman said the airline flying out of the local airport will also help local businesses recover in the coming months.
"Once pandemic restrictions are lifted, the addition of Flair's services will provide further connectivity to other economic hubs, create local jobs, build partnerships and help support the recovery of the local economy," Redman said in a release.
The airline says it expects domestic travel and tourism will resume this spring or summer.
Stephen Jones, president and CEO of Flair Airlines, said affordable travel will be the "first step in restarting travel."
"When non-essential travel returns, Flair will be there to reconnect families and provide the low fares that have long been denied to Canadians," he said in a release.
Flair also announced on Wednesday that it plans to add flights to Ottawa, Saint John, then over the course of the summer will add Thunder Bay, Charlottetown in P.E.I., Victoria, B.C. and Abbotsford, B.C.
With files from Hala Ghonaim