Lonely Planet Writer

Flights across Canada could get cheaper with new low-cost airlines

Flights in Canada are notoriously expensive, but travellers might have a shot at cheaper airfares as companies announce plans for new ultra-low-cost carriers.

A look at downtown Vancouver from a floatplane coming in to land in the harbour. Image by Brian Farrell/Getty Images

The country’s massive expanse and lack of budget airlines means travellers can struggle to find cheap tickets. While Europeans are no strangers to ultra-low-cost carriers, which bring low prices but very few perks for travellers, efforts to bring similar airlines to Canada have faced rocky starts. With the majority of the country’s population living close to the US border, many travellers even cross into US cities before flying to their final destination.

Now, established airline WestJet has announced its new budget offshoot, named Swoop, promising “a no-frills, lower-fare travel option backed by an airline with a proven track record of bringing lower fares to Canadians,” according to a statement. The airline is expected to start selling flights in 2018.

Spirit Island at Maligne Lake, Jasper, Rocky Mountain, Canada. Image by ©Krishna.Wu/Shutterstock

Vancouver-based Jetlines has also announced its plans to “become Canada’s first ultra-low cost carrier (ULCC) airline, with plans to operate flights across Canada and provide non-stop service from Canada to the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.” The carrier announced that it plans to launch flights from John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport and Region of Waterloo International Airport – airports located in cities outside of Toronto – in the summer of 2018. “Canadians are overpaying for air travel and we intend to change that. By offering customers the freedom to select the travel experience they want in addition to getting every day ultra-low fares, Jetlines will change the way that Canadians fly,” said Jetlines CEO Stan Gadek in a statement.