Canada has been waiting for a true Ultra Low Cost airline for awhile now, and it looks like they may need to keep on waiting.
Canadian airfare has always been on the higher end, but for the last year or so there's been reason to believe that some relief may be in sight. Canada Jetlines recently came on to the scene promising to bring Canada it's first true ULCC (Ultra Low Cost Carrier) airline, copying the familiar model of Frontier, Spirit and Allegiant airlines in the United States and many successful ULCC operations in Europe.
The airline plans to have hubs in Abbotsford on the west coast and Hamilton on the east coast and introduce routes to 8 Canadian cities plus Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tampa, Fort Myers, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and 4 more destinations in Mexico and the Carribean.
Image Source : Canada Jetlines
I've had my eye on these guys for awhile, because with a hub less than one hour over the border from New York it seems like an excellent option for anyone in this region hoping to visit central or western Canada on the cheap.
They've been pinpointing a June launch date for months, but just announced that the launch date is no longer attainable as previously projected, due to difficulties in gaining leased aircraft. The company blames supply and demand issues as the market for leased aircraft has tightened significantly thanks to higher than expected demand and issues with Airbus' neo-powered aircraft and the freighter conversion program for Boeing 737-800s.
The cliff notes version of this is that evidently you can't start an airline if you don't have any planes or any active orders for planes. Ultra Low Cost Carriers are great at cutting as much as possible from the flight experience in order to keep costs low, but planes? Yeah... apparently you kind of need those.
Company stock has tumbled around 30% in the last 24-48 hours in response.
This isn't the end for Canada Jetlines, but it's a major setback for them, as well as anyone hoping to get to Canada on the cheap. I guess for now I'm still stuck with my car and my $30 passport card.