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Canada domestic market: ULCCs work to break market dominance

Canada is one of the rarer markets in the industry – long dominated by two airlines.

Changes began to take shape seven years ago when the country’s low cost airline WestJet launched a new regional subsidiary in 2013 to inject some competition against Air Canada on smaller routes that were too thin for WestJet’s Boeing 737 narrowbodies. 

More recently, the ULCC model has debuted in Canada with Flair Airlines’ transition to the ultra low cost model and WestJet creating its own ULCC subsidiary Swoop. A third ULCC, Jetlines, plans to make its debut later this year from Vancouver International airport. 

There is definitely no shortage of ambition among the new start-ups and some airports are benefitting from more operators entering the market, but point-to-point service between secondary airports in Canada remains a challenge as the ULCCs believe there are traffic stimulation opportunities in some of the larger metropolitan areas. 

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