Lynx Air to launch new low-cost airline service based in Calgary – Calgary Herald

A new airline that aims to offer “ultra-affordable” ticket prices says it plans to begin operating from the Calgary International Airport sometime in the new year.
Lynx Air is setting up its headquarters in Calgary and is planning to announce routes and schedules in the coming weeks. Merren McArthur, CEO and president of Lynx Air, said Tuesday the business will follow a model from the United States and Europe to offer low fares and “liberate” Canadian travellers who do not fly as often as they would like.
“Our mission is to make air travel accessible to all Canadians,” said McArthur. “We’ll be offering ultra affordable airfares to enable people to fly and fly more often, and see their family and friends or take that long-awaited vacation. Calgary, we believe, has an opportunity for us to bring in lower fares and encourage and inspire more people to travel out of Calgary and into Calgary.”
McArthur said specific routes will be posted online in the coming weeks, allowing passengers to begin booking flights. She said the airline plans to begin with domestic flights across Canada before moving into the United States and abroad in late 2022.
The airline will also offer an a la carte booking option, in which passengers can choose to pay for various perks. McArthur said those options could range from not needing to book any luggage or being able to pay for extra leg room and premium seating. She said the airline does not plan to serve food on flights.
“Any markets that are unserved, or they’re underserved or they don’t have adequate low fares, will be markets that we will target,” said McArthur.
McArthur previously served as CEO of low-cost carrier Tigerair Australia, and headed up two other Australian airlines. She said the new airline is privately backed by industry professionals with the majority of shareholders being Canadian. She did not comment on who is funding the company.
Lynx Air is the rebranding of Enerjet, a charter airline company that worked primarily with businesses in the oilsands. McArthur said the change in business model will see the company build a fleet of 46 purchased and leased Boeing 737 aircraft over seven years, with the first three planes being delivered in 2022.
McArthur said the airline is expected to create 450 jobs, a majority based in Calgary.
Speaking at the launch Tuesday, Mayor Jyoti Gondek said having Lynx Air choose to set up its headquarters in Calgary shows the city is ready to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every job is an important job and every time we are able to boost a Calgarian’s ability to keep a roof over their head, that is important news,” said Gondek.
She said the city and its partners have been meeting with various industries and promoting the message that Calgary is ready to bounce back.
Alberta’s Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer said in a statement Tuesday that Lynx Air’s unveiling is “fantastic news” for the province’s airline and tourism sectors.
“It diversifies our economy, expands our offerings and creates hundreds of jobs, providing another flight choice for Albertans and Calgarians,” said Schweitzer. “It’s just another way Alberta is becoming an attractive destination for people around the world.”
Bob Sartor, president and CEO of the YYC Calgary Airport Authority, said he expected Lynx would have established routes through the city regardless of where they were headquartered. However, he said competition in the industry is always a good thing, noting many major airlines trimmed their fleets during the pandemic, allowing smaller startups to have access to planes.
He said Lynx will enter an established market and compete against other discount airlines such as Flair and Swoop.
“There’s no way that those startup air carriers are going to compete with, you know, the mainline carriers, because they’ve got more aircraft, they’ve got more ability to discount if they have to,” said Sartor. “They want to get those people who never travelled by air to start travelling by air. So that’s really what they’re focused on, and certainly the model’s worked in the U.S. (and) it’s worked in spades in Europe.”
McArthur said Lynx is not worried about what their competitors are doing and they will be focused on retaining customers through customer service.
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