Canada’s newest ULCC Lynx Air will launch commercial flights in April with tickets now on sale for seven domestic routes across the country.
The airline, led by former Tigerair Australia CEO Merren McArthur, will initially operate a fleet of three Boeing 737-8 from Calgary International (YYC).
Lynx was previously known as Enerjet, a charter airline based in Calgary that specialized in flying oil-sands workers to job sites in Alberta, as well as undertaking contracts for tour operators.
However, in late 2018 it announced plans to transform itself into a ULCC, backed by Canadian investors and private equity firm Indigo Partners, which is behind success stories such as Frontier Airlines and Wizz Air.
Speaking to Routes for the forthcoming February issue of Routes magazine, McArthur said Lynx’s model would not be to grab market share, but to stimulate demand and lower fares.
“ULCCs represent just 12% of the Canadian market right now, and in some regions it’s only 3%,” she said. “If you look at Europe, the representation is around 42%. There are huge opportunities to stimulate demand here.”
Lynx has firm orders and lease agreements in place for 46 Boeing 737 MAX family aircraft over the next seven years. McArthur said the ULCC expects to have six in its fleet by the end of 2022.
The airline’s booking system currently shows that its inaugural route will connect Calgary and Vancouver from April 7, initially operating daily before increasing to 2X-daily from May 20. Daily flights from Calgary to Toronto will launch on April 11, followed by a 2X-weekly Kelowna service on April 15. Calgary-Winnipeg will also receive two flights per week from April 19, increasing to 4X-weekly in May.
From Vancouver, service to Kelowna and Winnipeg starts on April 15 and April 19 respectively, each operating 2X-weekly. Daily Vancouver-Toronto flights will then start from April 28.
OAG Schedules Analyser data shows that Lynx will face competition on all seven routes from both Air Canada and WestJet. In addition, fellow ULCC Flair Airlines currently serves four of the seven routes but intends to be flying all seven by May.
By May, Lynx expects to be operating 76 flights per week and McArthur said more destinations would be added during the summer 2022 season. She told Routes that there is “an opportunity in eastern Canada that is potentially underserved” but all domestic markets that are unserved or underserved by an LCC are under evaluation.
McArthur added that transborder routes to the US would come at a later stage.