June 8, 2015 11:39 am
Updated: June 9, 2015 3:04 pm

NewLeaf Travel chooses Winnipeg for head office of low-cost airline

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WINNIPEG — Every year, thousands of Manitobans head across the border to catch a flight on Allegiant Air to a sunny destination.

And now that attractive low-cost fare is coming to Winnipeg.

“There’s an option here in Canada,” said Jim Young, the CEO of NewLeaf Travel Company, “they can leave their car right here at the airport and get the same type of service without taking the three hour drive to Grand Forks.”

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NewLeaf Travel Company, a brand new airline launched Monday and will locate its headquarters here in Winnipeg.

“It’s not every day someone says we want to make our headquarters in Winnipeg,” said Barry Rempel, President and CEO of the Winnipeg Airports Authority.

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“If you look at what WestJet did for Calgary by announcing their headquarters,” said Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, “NewLeaf announcing that their headquarters are going to be right here in Winnipeg says to the nation that Winnipeg is open for business.”

Along with hiring 750 employees, NewLeaf is offering low-cost flights across Canada and the United States, partnering with Kelowna-based Flair Airlines using their fleet of Boeing 737-400s.

“A basic seat and a seat belt service and for that they get a very, very low fare,” said Young.

NewLeaf is currently renovating its new corporate offices at the airport and the airport authority says its has enough room in its terminal for a new airline.

“We’ve already established a lease with them that will allow them to grow into some new space,” said Rempel.

Prices, schedules and destinations won’t be released for a couple months, but Winnipeg travellers who’ve use Allegiant can’t wait to see if it’s worth not crossing the border.

“If it’s comparable to Allegiant Air, it’s awesome, good connections, good pricing, convenience,” said Mary Gnutel

“If it’s more convenient and the price is similar I’m sure people would rather fly out of Winnipeg,” said Scott Stephen.

NewLeaf has been in the making for over a year.  Its first flight is expected to take off this summer.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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