VANCOUVER — Canada Jetlines is standing its ground against what it says is decreased airline competition by staging a protest – in the sky.
Using four planes and 18 skydivers, Jetlines’ airborne protest was staged to rally Canadians, investors and the Competition Bureau around the idea of increased competition and decreased airfares.
In an official YouTube video of the publicity stunt, Javier Suarez, Jetlines’ CEO, says, “Flights in Canada are a rip-off because Canada is controlled by two airlines and the Competition Bureau is doing nothing to stop them.”
He adds: “We are Jetlines, Canada’s first ultra-low-fare airline and we’re here today to send the duopoly a message in the place they believe they own: the sky.”
Skydivers are then seen jumping out of a plane and holding up signs that read, “We want fair airfare now”, “Canada needs more airlines” and “Down with the duopoly.”
The video then encourages viewers to go to Jetlines’ website at fightback.jetlines.ca to sign an online petition that the carrier says will be presented to the Canadian Competition Bureau.
In an official release, Jetlines writes: “While several airlines have attempted to enter the Canadian market, the duopoly has pushed them out with short-term match-pricing at prices below their avoidable costs…The Competition Bureau is currently investigating WestJet and their subsidiary new airline for ‘predatory pricing’ to undercut new entrants. Under Canada’s competition laws, predatory pricing occurs when an incumbent with market power sets its prices below avoidable costs.”
Suarez, who is urging consumers to show their support for more competition, says that Canada is the only developed country without a ULCC due to the fact that two high-cost airlines control approximately 85% of the domestic market.
The low-cost carrier (LCC) versus ultra-low cost carrier (ULCC) designation may be a matter of degrees, but Swoop, in the market for more than a year now, certainly bills itself as a ULCC, as does Flair, while Air Canada Rouge is typically positioned as more of a LCC.
“We know Canadians are fed up as there are between five and six million passenger trips per year by land over to the U.S. each year to fly on U.S. low-cost carriers, based out of northern U.S. airports, that in many cases only operate from those airports due to the robust Canadian passenger traffic,” he says.
Canada Jetlines is scheduled to launch on Dec. 17 as ‘Canada’s first true Ultra-Low Cost Carrier airline’, with plans to operate flights across Canada to destinations in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean with an Airbus A320 fleet.