Canada is set to see a new ultra-low-cost carrier, with the launch of Lynx Air, announced this week.
Formerly a charter airline named Enerjet, the newly rebranded Lynx Air is set to launch service in early 2022 with a fleet of brand-new Boeing 737 MAX jets.
The Calgary-based startup said in a statement that it “plans to announce routes and schedule soon”.
While the airline will initially service domestic routes, there are plans to expand into the US and international destinations.
According to the release, Lynx currently has firm orders and lease agreements in place for 46 737 MAX aircraft.
The first three aircraft deliveries are expected in early 2022 ahead of the carrier’s planned launch, with the remaining jets to be delivered progressively over the next seven years.
Lynx Air will be headed up by former Tigerair Australia chief executive Merren McArthur.
McArthur, originally from Melbourne Australia, has also previously served as the CEO of Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, and CEO of Virgin Australia Cargo.
“We are excited to bring competition and choice to the Canadian aviation market at a time when Canadians are yearning for the opportunity to fly again, whether it be to see friends and family, or to take a long-awaited holiday,” McArthur said.
“We have created an ultra-affordable fare structure which is focused on simplicity, transparency and choice,” she added.
“Our a la carte pricing will empower passengers to pick and pay for the services they want, so they can save money on the trip and spend where it counts – at their destination,” she said.
Brad McMullen, senior VP of sales in North America for Boeing Commercial said, “Boeing’s newest 737 aircraft enables the lowest cost operation of any aircraft in its market segment, making it a great fit for Lynx Air’s ultra-low-cost business model.
“Passengers can feel confident in Lynx Air’s choice of modern fleet, knowing this latest generation of aircraft are designed to offer the greatest flexibility, reliability and efficiency in the single-aisle market.”
Lynx joins the competitive budget carrier market in Canada, which is plagued by high fees and taxes, as well as a healthy dose of competition.
Canada already houses a number of low-cost carriers, including Flair Airlines, Swoop and Air Canada Rouge.
Robert Kokonis, president of independent Canadian aviation consultancy AirTrav Inc., said that while in the past he doubted the Canadian market could support another low or ultra-low-cost carrier, the pandemic could have changed this.
“I think as Flair and Swoop have both grown, they’re succeeding in getting Canadians to understand what the ULCC model is,” Kokonis said.
“I’m feeling very bullish that Canadian travellers are getting acclimatised to that model.”
Despite concerns, McArthur told the media the airline is not concerned about the possibility of entering an already over-saturated market.
“We’re not really focused on the competition,” McArthur said. “Our strategy is actually about growing the pie, growing the number of passengers who fly.”
McArthur confirmed Lynx is gearing up to hire up to 450 people, the majority around its HQ in Calgary, to support the airline’s launch.