January 6, 2016 11:52 am
Updated: January 6, 2016 9:51 pm

‘Ultra low-cost’ Canadian airline takes off next month

WATCH: A new airline called NewLeaf, which describes itself as an "ultra-low cost" airline, has unveiled its plans to fly across Canada later this year. Reid Fiest looks at how this company plans to stay in the air.

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TORONTO – A new “ultra low-cost” Canadian airline takes to the skies in February, issuing a challenge to other carriers with some steeply discounted fares.

NewLeaf airlines unveiled its Canada-wide plans Wednesday, pledging “mostly non-stop” flights to seven Canadian destinations with prices ranging from $89-$149.

As of Feb. 12, the carrier promises flights to Abbotsford, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Hamilton and Halifax.

The Winnipeg-based company said its goal is to contend with competitors such as Air Canada and WestJet by offering attractive and affordable fares.

“The ultra-low-cost business model we’re using has proven successful around the world,and we’re excited to bring it to Canada,” CEO Jim Young said.

However, that low-cost model has proved risky for Canadian carriers. Two similar discounted airlines, SkyGreece and Canjet, both ceased operations last summer, joining a long list of similar companies, including JetsGo, Roots Air and Zoom Airways.

Young said NewLeaf will fly from “smaller and secondary airports,” which carry several advantages.

newleaf-airlines-route-map

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“We love the calmer atmosphere, cheaper parking and more direct baggage handling,” Young said. “Plus the lower airport fees mean we have more direct savings we can pass on to you.”

As with other discount airlines, the flights are distinctly no-frills. Young said fares include “a seat and a seatbelt,” but other perks like food and drink, seat selection or printed boarding passes will cost extra.

Carry-on bags will cost $25 – the same price as checked luggage – in order to reduce the “clutter and the hassle” created by excess carry-on bags, Young said.

Flights will be operated by Flair Airlines Ltd., a private charter company based in Kelowna which has been flying since 2003.

With files from David Shum.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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