Canadian start up ULCC NewLeaf makes numerous schedule adjustments as WestJet targets competition

Canadian ULCC start up NewLeaf Travel is reaching six months of operations and during that time has transported 150,000 passengers under its unique arrangement with Flair Airlines, in which Flair operates aircraft on behalf of NewLeaf.

NewLeaf continues to promote the stimulatory benefits of its model, but its network development has featured many fits and starts, including the recent temporary suspension of some routes due to problems with Flair’s aircraft availability. Before the launch the company also decided to cancel service to Phoenix Mesa airport, due to WestJet’s decision to introduce new flights in direct competition with NewLeaf.

NewLeaf opted to use existing aircraft capacity in order to be a first mover in the ULCC space within Canada, but its recent schedule adjustments indicate that purchasing existing capacity might not be a viable model for the long term. WestJet’s competitive response to NewLeaf also raises questions about whether the ULCC model will ultimately prevail in Canada.

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