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A Flair Airlines plane at the Saint John Airport. Image: Submitted/Saint John Airport

Flair Returning To YSJ In 2023, But Not Swoop

By Brad Perry Jan 2, 2023 | 12:02 PM

Expect to see more flights at the Saint John Airport in the new year, including the return of an ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC).

Starting this summer, Air Canada will have three daily flights between YSJ and the Toronto Pearson Airport.

That was how many rotations the airline offered between the two cities before major cuts earlier this year.

Sandy Ross, CEO of the airport, said they are also hopeful that a second daily rotation to Montreal will return mid-summer.

“With that, then we’re back to five rotations a day with Air Canada,” Ross said in a recent year-end interview.

“Then we want to work with Air Canada, lock those in and make sure that none of those become seasonal and that we keep those as the baseline of operation with Air Canada.”

Flair Airlines also plans to return at the end of March, said Ross. The ULCC is adding a third weekly rotation to Toronto Pearson, up from two this year.

The airport is working with the airline to extend the seasonal service a bit longer this year, he said.

No Swoop flights this year

Meanwhile, a second ultra-low-cost carrier said it has no plans to restart service from Saint John in 2023.

Swoop launched its four-times-weekly service between Saint John and Toronto Pearson in mid-May.

Spokesperson Julie Pondant confirmed the airline ended the service less than four months later in early September.

“Swoop’s flight schedules are built many months in advance, based on anticipated demand and operational capacities,” Pondant wrote in an email.

“At this time there are no plans at this time to restart service from Saint John in 2023, but we’re consistently evaluating our network and assessing future growth opportunities.”

Ross said he believes the two airlines were struggling to get the passenger loads they wanted to make the route profitable.

That is because Flair and Swoop were competing with Air Canada, which offered daily service to the same destination.

“Their load numbers suggested that they were, between the two of them, averaging probably 65 or 70 per cent,” said Ross.

“I don’t think, for their model, that means they were very profitable.”

As for a return of sun destination flights, that will not happen during the 2022-23 winter season.

But Ross said there are optimistic an announcement could be coming in the next few months.

“I am very hopeful that we will have an announcement in March about a sun destination that will allow people to start booking their late 2023 and 2024 sun destination travel,” he said.


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