Flights between Canadian cities are notoriously expensive – but that may be set to change with the launch of ticket sales for the country’s newest budget airline.
Swoop, which describes itself as Canada’s “first true ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC),” is set to take off this summer in a country that has long struggled to introduce budget airlines into the market. While cheap airlines flourish in places like Europe, Canada’s problems are partially attributed to the country’s vast geography, but also to high taxes and a lack of competition.
Canadians have already gotten their hopes up a number of times at the announcement of new budget carriers, but many of those companies failed or struggled to get up in the air. Currently, Swoop’s likely competitors will be other new budget airlines Canada Jetlines, which has yet to start flights, and Flair Air.
Where Swoop may have an advantage, is that it is actually owned by the established Canadian airline WestJet, similar to Air France’s new sister airline geared towards millennials, Joon. This week, the company announced its initial schedule, with services between Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax, Abbotsford, a city about an hour’s drive from Vancouver, and Hamilton, which is an hour from Toronto. The introductory prices start at $39CAD (€25) one-way on shorter routes, up to $99CAD (€64) for the longest routes.
The flights are beginning on 20 June, with six weekly flights between Abbotsford and Hamilton and six weekly flights between Hamilton and Halifax. There will also be six weekly flights between Hamilton and Edmonton and between Hamilton and Winnipeg starting on 25 June. A service will also run between Abbotsford and Edmonton three-times daily.
Like many European low-cost carriers, passengers will pay for their ticket and will have to spend more to add features, like a checked-bag, movies, Wi-Fi, legroom, snacks and more.