New discount airline NewLeaf responds to licence concerns

NewLeaf Travel
NewLeaf Travel Chief Executive Director, Jim Young on January 6th, 2016. Global News

Editor’s Note:  On January 13, 2016 we reported that the Canadian Transportation Agency was reviewing whether NewLeaf had the proper license to conduct business as an airline. To clarify, the Canadian Transportation Agency is reviewing its own regulations about whether companies who bulk purchase all seats on planes and then resell those seats to the public, but do not operate any aircraft, including NewLeaf, should be required to hold a licence. We regret the error and any confusion it may have caused.

WINNIPEG — People are starting to question if NewLeaf Travel is still a good flight option after a passenger advocate warns Canadians to avoid the airline.

A former assistant professor at the University of Manitoba who now lives in Halifax has been a thorn in the side of Canada’s airline companies for eight years. That’s because Gabor Lukacs takes passenger complaints to the Canadian Transportation Agency.

READ MORE: Avoid new ‘ultra low-cost’ airline, passenger advocate warns

NewLeaf Travel announced it will begin flying on February 12, but Lukacs, a self proclaimed air passenger advocate, said NewLeaf Travel is operating illegally because it doesn’t have a licence.

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“Until NewLeaf has cleared up this mess, until NewLeaf has properly applied and obtained a licence passengers should not book with NewLeaf,” said Lukacs in a interview with Global News from his home in Halifax.

NewLeaf Travel has partnered with Flair airlines, who will provide the aircraft and the licence.

Lukacs said without its own licence, NewLeaf doesn’t have a clear policy on how passengers are protected or compensated if their flight is delayed, cancelled or baggage is lost or damaged.

RELATED: No-frills airline NewLeaf faces ‘dogfight’ with Air Canada, WestJet

“NewLeaf and Flair airlines will be pointing at each other, Flair airlines will say our baggage liability is only $250 but NewLeaf has a different policy,” said Lukacs.

After this story gained traction on the Global News website this week, NewLeaf Travel responded Wednesday in a statement, “If our partner, Flair, already has a licence, why would we go to the step of getting one if we don’t need one?”

The Canadian Transportation Agency is currently reviewing whether companies who do not operate any aircraft but bulk purchase all seats on planes and then resell those seats to the public should be required to hold a licence.

A decision likely won’t be made until after NewLeaf takes off in February.


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