Swoop’s U.S. operations approval remains up in the air

Swoop’s U.S. operations approval remains up in the air

TORONTO — Low-cost carrier Swoop is apologizing to travellers impacted by dozens of flight cancellations as it works to finalize its approval to fly to the U.S.

“We have not yet received one final approval required to operate to the U.S. We anticipated having all regulatory approvals in place well in advance of our U.S. first flights. Unfortunately this is not the case,” says the carrier.

Swoop first announced its new U.S. routes back in August. The 2018/19 winter lineup includes flights from Edmonton, Hamilton and Abbotsford to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa Bay.

Flights between Edmonton and Las Vegas from Oct. 19 to 26 are minimally impacted as Swoop says it has leased an aircraft to operate the flights.

However more than 50 flights out of Hamilton and Abbotsford have been cancelled, with passengers offered rebookings on WestJet. Coverage from consumer media outlets including CHCH in Hamilton and CityNews in Toronto includes interviews with impacted passengers.

The full schedule to the U.S. isn’t expected to operate until at least Oct. 27.

Here’s the list of cancellations:

  • Flights between Abbotsford and Las Vegas on Oct. 21 and 25 (WO 802 and WO 705) and flights between Hamilton and Las Vegas on Oct. 26 (WO 800 and WO 701)
  • Flights between Hamilton and Orlando on October 20 and 24 (WO 810 and WO 711)
  • Flights between Hamilton and Tampa on October 20 and 24 (WO 808 and WO 709)
  • Flights between Hamilton and Fort Lauderdale on October 26 (WO 820 and WO 719)

As start-up hiccups go, it’s a doozy, and Swoop apologized for the disruption. “First and foremost, we’d like to apologize. We know how disruptive it is when travel doesn’t go as planned, and we’re sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment this has caused. We have set up a dedicated Travel Interruption support team who are reaching out directly to impacted travellers to offer rebooking options or full refunds.”

Swoop adds that it is working to expedite its U.S. operations approvals and will provide regular updates directly to impacted travellers.

Swoop launched June 20 with its domestic schedule, and followed up weeks later with the news about the new U.S. routes.

Last month Swoop announced new Montego Bay flights ex YHM starting Dec. 16.

Weeks later Swoop gave word that it was adding Mexico destinations too, with twice weekly service to Puerto Vallarta and three times weekly service to Cancun starting Jan. 8, 2019 and Jan. 14, 2019 out of Hamilton plus twice weekly service to Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan starting Jan. 12, 2019 and Jan. 20, 2019 from Abbotsford.

Karen McIsaac, Swoop’s Sr. Advisor, Communications, said Swoop is reaching out directly to all affected travellers to acknowledge their situation and to either advise them of their new WestJet flight details or to provide rebooking and/or refund options. “We apologize to our travellers for this inconvenience and for the disappointment they have expressed.”

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