New ‘ultra-low’ airline hoping to launch in Vancouver

You may have a cheaper option to fly around western Canada if the plans of a group of aviation veterans works out. The group want to launch a new ultra-low cost airline in Vancouver.

The airline would be called Jetlines and fly to locations west of Winnipeg, which include Prince George, Kamloops, Prince Rupert, Regina and Edmonton. In the wintertime it would also offer some sunny destination flights.

Modelled after low-cost airlines in Europe, Asia and in Bellingham, Allegiant Air, the service would be no strictly frills.

“The trend now in the aviation business is this ultra low cost model,” says Dave Solloway, Canada Jetlines Chief Commercial Officer.

“People are happy to pay for the seat and then pay for extras on the flight. We call it an la carte menu.”

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So far the idea has the support of the provincial government but the fledgling airline still needs to raise more than $25 million on top of the $100 million already being raised through financing.

The plan is to launch the travel alternative out of Vancouver next fall with the promise of huge savings.

According to Tae Oum from the UBC Sauder School of Business, any low cost airline that wants to succeed would need to be 40 to 50 per cent cheaper then what Air Canada or Westjet currently offers.

The keen group behind the plan has high ambitions to be flying in and out of Vancouver by 2014 and expanding to 16 aircrafts by 2017.

~ with files from Kristen Robinson