A new low-cost airline is coming to Hamilton.
Swoop, an offshoot of WestJet Airlines, will be taking off from Hamilton International Airport with its inaugural flight to Abbotsford, B.C., taking off at 5:45 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
Steven Greenway, president and CEO of Swoop, said they chose Hamilton because it’s cost-effective, efficient, and travellers can board and disembark from the plane in a matter of minutes, which is ideal for a ULCC (ultra-low cost carrier).
Greenway said the average flight will start at just over $100 and doesn’t include excess fees like baggage and seat selection.
“I think Swoop can actually revolutionize Canada in terms of travel patterns,” said Greenway. “Where people are catching cars and buses today, they’ll be able to fly. For those who can only afford perhaps one flight a year, they can now afford two or three. For those people who are taking their hard-earned Canadian dollars over the border and flying U.S. airlines to other destinations, I say, ‘Come back, and fly with us from Hamilton.'”
Mayor Fred Eisenberger said Hamiltonians have been asking for more convenience when it comes to travelling out of the city’s airport.
“You know, if you talk to a Hamiltonian today, what do they want from our airport? They want to have more destinations, more locations, more convenience to be able to fly right here out of Hamilton. And that’s what we’re able to do today.”
He added that Canada is behind other parts of the world when it comes to offering consumers a low-cost no-frills model of air travel.
“To go to one major city to another, in Europe, it’s a hundred bucks, or equivalent to a train ride or a boat ride or any other form of transportation,” said Eisenberger. “High volume at lower cost and building your own amenities is really the way to go for future flight.
Cathie Puckering, president and CEO of Hamilton International Airport, said the launch of Swoop comes halfway through a year that began with the airport earning the title of the fastest-growing airport in Canada, with 600,000 passengers travelling through in 2017.
“We’ve known for over 20 years that this is the airport that needs to satisfy the passengers and the new opportunities that are in the marketplace today,” said Puckering. “And flying on Swoop is an opportunity that we are so glad to be supporting and part of.”
Currently, Swoop only has two planes and five destinations within Canada — Hamilton, Abbotsford, Halifax, Edmonton and Winnipeg — but the airline hopes to have six planes and offer international destinations by the end of the year.