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Region sees economic boon in new carrier when pandemic starts to recede

Flair Airlines is the latest carrier to offer up flights from the Region of Waterloo International Airport, looking to connect the area with six Canadian cities.

Starting May 1, the company will fly several times each week from Breslau to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Halifax, adding Victoria and Winnipeg to the itinerary as of July.

The new deal for the airport, known by its code YKF, follows on the heels of last year’s agreement with Pivot Airlines, which flies to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Windsor.

Flair bills itself as the country’s only independent ultra-low cost carrier.

“Flair is thrilled to be working with the Region of Waterloo International Airport and to bring the freedom of affordable travel to the people of this region. With the expected recovery from the pandemic this summer, Flair and YKF will be there with low fares to give more Canadians the opportunity to travel to visit friends and family and to see more of this beautiful country,” said Stephen Jones, president and CEO of Flair Airlines in a release. “Canadians have been paying too much for too long, and we are changing that with our ULCC model that makes getting around Canada affordable. Providing affordable air travel within Canada is the first step in restarting travel and tourism, and Flair is uniquely positioned with the efficiencies of our low-cost model. When non-essential travel returns, Flair will be there to reconnect families and provide the low fares that have long been denied to Canadians.”

When service starts in May, four locations will be provided by Flair out of YKF. These locations include Edmonton (Wednesdays and Saturdays), Calgary (Thursdays and Sundays), Halifax (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), and Vancouver (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays). The remaining two locations will see service beginning July 2: Victoria on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and Winnipeg on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

Regional Coun. Helen Jowett, and chair of the economic development committee, welcomed the addition, calling the partnership with Flair a good fit. Coming out of the pandemic, she said domestic travel is likely to bounce back faster than international flights as people look to satisfy demand.

“Post-COVID [there] is going to be pent up demand (for travel). We’re probably going to be pretty careful about travel coming out of this, to some degree. I think you’re going to maybe see some domestic travel before we see international travel. So, I think [Flair’s plan] has been well thought out, to be quite frank. I’m really proud of the staff for finding this strategic opportunity [which] is such a good fit. And because our airport has been fairly low-cost comparatively, it makes us a really good fit for this particular model of ultra-low cost carrier,” said Jowett.

The addition of Flair’s services should help the economy grow as well as adding jobs, directly and indirectly, after the pandemic, she added.

“[We are] hoping that it brings all the economic spin off that having a capital asset in your community like this does have, so it’s good all around. And it’s just another way of trying to move our economy forward – there’s spinoff jobs going to come out of this, for sure. Spinoff jobs in airline and certainly in manufacturing and assemblies and repair and maintenance and all kinds of other things that we see here,” said Jowett.

“I think the pent-up demand will be there, and I think a lot of people are working real hard for economic recovery and I know that this will play a fairly significant role in that.”

Flights on Flair start at $39 for non-stop trips and go up depending on the number of bags and other factors.

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