VANCOUVER – Canada Jetlines has appointed Lukas Johnson, a former senior executive at Allegiant Travel Company, as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective June 18, 2018.
Johnson will succeed Stan Gadek who will remain as Chief Executive Officer during the transition position.
Prior to his new role, Johnson spent eight years at Allegiant, a leading U.S.-based ULCC, most recently as Senior Vice President, Commercial. Under his leadership, Allegiant boasted the fastest expanding network in North America, growing to over 400 routes and 120 airports served. He helped guide the airline to the highest operating margins in the world of any airline, both in 2015 (29.4%) and 2016 (27.2%). Over his tenure, annual revenue per plane increased over 30%, while total operating revenues grew to over $1.5 billion. He’s also credited with helping Allegiant enter mid-size markets, adding 11 new focus city destinations and growing East Coast capacity by over 500%.
Canada Jetlines, which earlier this year announced a delay in its June 2018 launch, recently concluded a term sheet to lease two Airbus A320 aircraft. Once a definitive lease agreement is concluded – projected before the end of Q2 2018 – the airline says it will then provide an update on a new start-up date.
“I’m excited to join Jetlines at this pivotal point in the company’s history, and I have confidence in the team’s ability to become the first successful ultra-low-cost carrier in Canada. Based on my experience and deep knowledge of the Canadian market, there is a significant opportunity for us here and I look forward to leading the team to success,” said Johnson, who will also be making a $700,000 investment in the company’s subsidiary, Canada Jetlines Operations Ltd. (CJL Operations), of which he will acquire a 5% equity interest.
Mark Morabito, Executive Chairman of Canada Jetlines, added: “We warmly welcome Lukas to our management team. This marks an important milestone in the buildout of Jetlines and their extensive industry and leadership experience will aid in the acceleration of the company’s strategy of becoming Canada’s first true ultra low-cost carrier.”
Canada’s ULCC market is heating up, with Flair Airlines already operating across Canada and WestJet’s Swoop scheduled to launch on June 20. Once off the ground, Canada Jetlines is expected to offer service from John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, Abbotsford International Airport, and Halifax Stanfield International Airport, with more airport agreements to be announced at a later date.