A final decision on whether Flair Airlines is Canadian enough to fly in the country will be announced on June 1, according to the watchdog undertaking the ownership review.
The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) said in a short update Wednesday afternoon that it has received Flair’s response to its preliminary ruling, which found the Edmonton-based ultra-low cost carrier might not meet the Canadian ownership standards for its licence.
Flair had been given 60 days to address to the CTA’s concerns, with Tuesday marking the deadline to respond.
A CTA panel will take the next six weeks to review the submission, and if it determines then that the airline does not meet the bar for Canadian control, the airline could immediately have its licences suspended.
The CTA originally told Global News the decision would be delivered June 15, but then retracted that date after publication. It provided the new June 1 date Tuesday evening.
A spokesperson for Flair told Global News on Tuesday that “the airline is working closely with the CTA to resolve the matter, but would have no further status updates.”
Flair CEO Stephen Jones has been adamant that the budget airline will be flying this summer despite the uncertainty surrounding its review.
The company has overhauled its board of directors and made changes to its governance structure in an effort to dampen the influence of 777 Partners, the U.S.-based investor it turned to in order to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jones said last month the company is in the process of refinancing its debt from 777 Partners and needs more time to meet the Canadian ownership requirements. Flair has asked the Minister of Transport for an 18-month exemption to these rules but no decision has been made on the request.
The ultra-low cost airline has argued it has been vital in improving competition and airfare prices in Canada’s aviation industry, and that denying Flair the exemption or suspending its licence would hurt the sector. Major players and competitors in the sector have argued the company shouldn’t get a pass for violating Canadian regulations.