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Jim Scott, CEO of Canada Jetlines Ltd. (Jetlines) made the following statement in response to WestJet’s announcement that it plans to launch an ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) airline:
“Today’s [April 20] announcement by WestJet is recognition that millions of Canadians continue to be underserviced by airlines in markets throughout the country, while millions more are looking for a lower-cost option than what has been offered by Canada’s two dominant carriers.
“We believe that what Canadians need, however, is a genuine ultra-low-cost carrier and greater competition. Today’s announcement offers nothing more than an ‘airline within an airline’ that will not increase competition into the market, and it remains to be seen whether it will be able to achieve the full benefits of a ULCC.
“Most ‘airlines within airlines’ that have attempted to offer low-cost options for air travelers have failed in North America, including Zip, Ted, Song, Metrojet, Calite, and United Shuttle. The continent is littered with the graves of these lower-cost airlines, precisely because the model doesn’t work when the airline is owned by another airline.”
“Successful and genuine ULCC airlines such as Ryanair, Spirit, EasyJet, Air Asia, and Allegiant Airlines, are able to achieve the full benefits of a ULCC, including lower-cost, precisely because they operate independently of a parent carrier.”
“Jetlines will continue to work toward its goal of providing new low-cost options for the more than 10 million Canadians who are not choosing to fly in Canada and repatriating the five million annual flights Canadians have been accessing via U.S. airports, by providing Canadian consumers with a genuine ULCC and more competition.”