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ULCC model arrives in Canada, with Jetlines, Swoop. Unclear foreign ownership rules still deterrent

Premium Analysis

For years Canadians have been waiting for a wave of new ULCC start-ups to finally take flight, as Jetlines, NewLeaf, FlyToo, and now WestJet’s Swoop, have all declared their aspirations to adopt the model in the Canadian market.

It’s been a slow process, and so far NewLeaf, which was absorbed by Flair in 2017, is the only entity to expose Canadians to lower fares in the current era of the ultra low cost business model. Now both Swoop and Jetlines plan to debut their ultra low cost products in mid-2018.

A change in Canada’s foreign ownership laws in late 2016 was welcomed by the country’s fledgling ULCCs, but it appears that there’s been little movement by those entities to attract significant foreign investors, as some aspects of Canada’s ownership scheme remain complex.

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