WINNIPEG — NewLeaf Travel Company has launched its U.S. sun program, offering direct flights from Hamilton International Airport to Orlando Melbourne International Airport as well as three times weekly service from Calgary and once weekly service from Edmonton to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
The direct service from Hamilton will start Jan. 15 and run through to the end of April, with a possible schedule extension.
“We’re very pleased with NewLeaf’s announcement to introduce low-cost service to Florida operated by Flair Air from Hamilton this winter. Florida is a highly demanded destination for our passengers and we’re thrilled that this new service will be available just in time for the peak of the winter season,” said Vijay Bathija, President and CEO.
The direct service from Edmonton to Phoenix-Mesa will start Jan. 21 and run through to the end of April, and direct service from Calgary to Phoenix-Mesa will begin Jan. 19 and run to the end of April.
Since its launch in July 2016 NewLeaf with its airline partner Flair has transported more than 85,000 people across the country. “Every time we expand our schedule, we prove the ‘experts’ wrong; and we are quite happy about that,” said Jim Young, President & CEO, NewLeaf Travel Company.
NewLeaf will operate under a chartered license, which is slightly different than its Canadian operations. Tickets are now on sale and fares must be booked return.
Asked if NewLeaf is seeing bookings from travel agents, Young said in an interview with Travelweek last month that there has been activity on the booking site from the retail trade. “We know of agents that have made booking for their customers through our website. Whether they were compensated for their service by their customer we are unaware. NewLeaf’s fares are very low, and therefore make it difficult for us to support an agency compensation system. We would rather pass the savings onto the customer and let our fare speak for itself in the marketplace.”
NewLeaf is battling it out with WestJet in Hamilton, after the Calgary-based carrier brought back several Hamilton routes including Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax as well as a new route between Hamilton and Winnipeg, where NewLeaf is based.
NewLeaf could also face competition from Jetlines now that the federal government has loosened restrictions on foreign ownership for Canadian carriers, easing a major hurdle for Jetlines’ launch.
In his Travelweek interview last month, Young said NewLeaf and Flair are using “first-mover advantage” to establish the airline as Canada’s only ULCC model provider. “We are setting a very high bar, which we are proud of. We use our low operating costs to pass along onto our customers. This will always set us apart.”