After a challenging summer 2022 travel season, Edmonton-based Flair Airlines announced the first phase of the company’s summer 2023 schedule Wednesday, which includes adding frequency to several existing markets.
The company’s CEO said it is coming off a “gangbuster” summer, with a strong fall travel season shaping up.
Stephen Jones said the first phase of summer 2023 announcements includes adding additional more flights into existing markets.
This includes expanding the frequency of year-round access from Edmonton to Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. The company said it is also adding more daily domestic routes.
Alberta’s capital city will not see any new United States destinations added this fall. But by summer 2023, Flair will be serving 15 destinations out of Edmonton, with the possibility of more to come.
Flair said that will mean a 40 per cent year-over-year increase in the number of seats flying out of the city.
“We’re very excited about Edmonton. It really is our hometown airport,” said Eric Tanner, vice-president of revenue management and network planning with Flair Airlines. “We’re evaluating plenty of opportunities from the Edmonton airport.
“This winter we are very excited about our Tucson service from Edmonton, as well as the Puerto Vallarta service where we’ve already added capacity into Edmonton based on the high demand we’ve been seeing for our Puerto Vallarta service.”
Some of the other frequency increases across the country include Vancouver to Toronto, which will see an additional 10 weekly flights for a total of 21.
Calgary-to-Toronto service will ramp up to 21 weekly frequencies. Service from Montreal to Toronto has also increased by eight weekly flights.
Flair Airlines currently has 19 aircraft in its fleet and CEO Stephen Jones said the company is on track to have 27 planes in the fleet by the end of summer 2023, and 50 by 2025.
Flair officials said the first phase of the summer 2023 schedule will see the number of seats on sale grow by 35 per cent, with more new routes to be announced in the coming months. That will bring Flair to 50 per cent growth for the upcoming summer.
“We’re looking ahead to another busy summer next year and we’ve increased our capacity significantly to keep up with increased demand,” Flair Airlines chief commercial officer Garth Lund said.
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“Welcoming an additional seven aircraft into our fleet allows us to increase frequencies on our most travelled routes, giving passengers more options. As we expand our fleet, we’re also thrilled to expand our team across the country as Canada’s largest low-fare airline.”
Flair Airlines said bringing on the additional seven aircraft in the upcoming year will translate to an additional 350 jobs at Flair’s Canadian bases, including pilots, flight attendants and ground handling crews.
The airline admits July was a tough month for the company, saying long lineups and staff shortages impacted airports around the globe.
“It’s been an incredibly tough summer, I think, for all airlines and I don’t just mean in Canada,” Jones said. “Canada has not been spared the global phenomenon here, which is the rapid ramp-up in travel demand.
“The consequences for airlines has been long queues, long delays and really tough schedules, cancellations of flights. There’s been an ongoing pilot shortage, as well.
“Flair certainly wasn’t spared that and we had a pretty tough July, I have to say.”
However, Jones said he believes Flair Airlines is getting back on track heading into the fall.
“August and September have been better month-on-month and we are now up at on-time performance levels that we are getting close to what we would be comfortable with. We’re still not quite there, but we’ve done a lot of work over the last two months. The workforces are stabilizing, the pilot population is stable.”
More information on the expanded frequencies can be found on Flair Airlines’ website.