MONTREAL – Canada Jetlines has pressed pause on its domestic routes as the upstart airline refocuses on sun destinations and leasing its planes, but says it plans to resume in-country flights come fall.
The carrier quietly halted its twice-weekly return trips between Toronto and Vancouver and, as reported yesterday, Toronto and Calgary in January after launching commercial operations in September.
In their place, it signed a pair of so-called wet leases, where the lessor furnishes the aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) for another airline.
“When we had an opportunity to operate an ACMI lease, that guaranteed revenue and guaranteed hours. From a business perspective, it makes sense for us to take the ACMI lease,” said chief financial officer Duncan Bureau.
“This is very common across airlines around the world,” he said in an interview Tuesday.
Canada Jetlines also continues to offer two return flights per week from Toronto’s Pearson airport to Las Vegas and to Cancun, Mexico.
The company’s two Airbus A320 jetliners work both of those routes as well as the wet lease.
It signed one wet lease agreement that ran from the winter holidays into March, and a second one with a different carrier that lasts from March until Sept. 5, Bureau said. He did not disclose the airlines.
The Toronto-based company plans to resume flights from Toronto to Calgary and Vancouver starting this fall, with the aim of receiving three more deliveries of the 174-seat A320s by year’s end.
“We’ll add more planes, which will give us the ability to operate into key gateways like Calgary and Vancouver,” Bureau said.
“We’re extremely bullish on both markets.”
Rising competition in Canadian aviation has seen up to six airlines simultaneously flying some of the country’s most popular routes, putting downward pressure on ticket prices even as travel demand ticks up after the protracted lull brought on by COVID-19 border restrictions.
Canada Jetlines, the newest player in the country’s expanding field of carriers, also offers charter flights and plans to launch a tour operator dubbed Jetline Vacations this summer, putting it into direct competition with the likes of Transat A.T. Inc. and Air Canada Vacations.