TORONTO — Pressure is mounting for Flair Airlines as more consumer media coverage highlights the Canadian Transportation Agency’s review of the carrier’s ownership.
Global News is reporting that Flair could lose its licence to operate in Canada, as early as May 3, as a result of the CTA’s preliminary review. Global obtained a copy of the review.
Questions surrounding Flair’s ownership have been swirling for months. In March 2022 reports emerged that the CTA had formed a panel to look into the situation, following the results of a preliminary investigation.
Foreign ownership in Canadian airlines can’t be higher than 49%. That percentage drops to 25% if the foreign investment is from one individual. There are also rules around foreign interests controlling a Canadian carrier.
777 Partners, based in Miami, owns 25% of Flair, plus has three of the five seats on its board, and leases a number of aircraft to Flair.
In March 2022, Flair CEO Stephen Jones told The Globe and Mail: “Flair is completely compliant with all applicable airline regulations, including those dealing with Canadian control. Flair is a private company, and while we have always and will continue to coordinate with all regulators as necessary, our shareholders and financial affairs are confidential.”
Flair is reportedly seeking an exemption from the CTA’s decision.
Flair, along with Canada’s other ultra low-cost carriers, new entrants and legacy airlines, is set to battle it out for market share this summer as the industry looks to maximize all the pent-up demand after two years of the pandemic.
In December 2021 Flair announced its expansion plans into the U.S. with 17 new routes from Canadian gateways.
Weeks earlier Flair announced its expansion into sun destinations including Cancun and Los Cabos.