Ultra-low-cost Flair Airlines to unveil service to London next week

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The arrival of a discount airline later this year signals clearer skies for the recovering London International Airport.

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Flair Airlines, the Edmonton-based ultra-low-cost carrier, is expected to officially announce on Tuesday that it will offer a once-a-week flight from London to a city in the southwestern US sunbelt from early December. .

The cost of the first flights from London: $99 one way, including taxes, which is about as much as it costs to fill up an SUV with gas.

“London is a natural choice for Flair, with a large population, a large student population and a lack of air service, whether to sun destinations or across Canada,” Flair chief commercial officer Garth Lund said in a statement. e-mail.

“It’s rare to see such a big center with so few flight options. So for us, it’s an opportunity.

The airline has a fleet of 15,737, with plans to expand to 50 aircraft in the next five years. It serves 35 cities in Canada, the United States and Mexico, including Kitchener-Waterloo and Windsor.

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Flair thinks there’s enough demand in the London area and its half-million people to broaden his horizons.

“Residents should know that we are a very ambitious Canadian airline,” Lund said. “There are enough people in London looking for low-cost options, and we’ve had great success in other centers like Kitchener-Waterloo, Abbotsford and really on our road map.

Flair’s arrival is welcome news for London Airport which has been through a lot of turbulence during the pandemic and is only now seeing passenger numbers start to slowly increase.

“This is huge news for the airport and the city and much needed good news as we continue to recover from the pandemic,” said Scott McFadzean, airport general manager.

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Already 2022 has been a promising year. Last month, the airport reported that cargo traffic was on the rise with 300 flights landing there in the first four months, up from just 14 in the same period of 2021, thanks to new screening technology in the airport. one of the cargo handling companies that puts the city together with Toronto and Hamilton.

Passenger traffic is also up and McFadzean said he expects 2.5 times more figures than last year, particularly since London’s international status was restored. It still won’t match 2019 levels, but the pace is picking up.

It is counting on pent-up demand for leisure travel and the expected return of business passengers once again as people return to traditional offices later this fall.

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What could help direct more traffic to smaller airports like London are ongoing problems at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, where passengers are experiencing long delays caused by staff shortages and security concerns.

“We don’t see the same levels of personnel, security, customs or baggage and ground-related challenges,” McFadzean said.

Since June 1, WestJet has had a daily flight to Calgary and its subsidiary, Swoop, has four weekly flights from London to Edmonton. Air Canada has four flights a day to Toronto and WestJet has three.

And winter trips to southern destinations are back. Swoop, Sunwing and Air Transat are all expected to offer sun destinations from London. “We’ll see trips to several US states for next winter, which will be nice to see again as those have been closed for the past two years,” McFadzean said.

Adding Flair to the roster will open up more possibilities beyond the initial announcement of a destination on Tuesday.

“We plan to build a long term strategy to see Flair grow here in London and hopefully long term,” McFadzean said.

Already, initial talks are underway to add a route to Florida and “select summer destinations next year.”

McFadzean said after the first Flair flights, the price for a regular fare would likely be around $149 one way.

jsims@postmedia.com

twitter.com/JaneatLFPress

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