Winnipeg-based company, NewLeaf Travel has started up again today with discounted flights out of Hamilton airport. Four are scheduled for today. NewLeaf Travel first announced its launch plans in January, flying non-stop flights between smaller cities on routes such as Hamilton to Halifax, but it immediately hit roadblocks with licensing questions which suspended all ticket sales.
The Canadian Transportation Agency however, eventually determined that NewLeaf Travel was a ticket reseller and not an airline and was not required to get its own licence as a result.
NewLeaf Travel has contracted all flying with Kelowna-based Flair Air, using its 156-seat Boeing 737s and is modelled on ultra-low-cost carriers like Spirit Airlines or Allegiant Air. A New Leaf fare covers only the seat and seatbelt, and passengers will pay for any extras, from advanced seat selection to bringing along a carry-on bag.
Now that NewLeaf Travel has launched again, it is promising to serve 12 cities, including 22 flights a week from Hamilton, up from the original seven cities. It has since dropped Fort St. John, in northern B.C., as it tweaks an initial network to 11 cities, adding flights between Edmonton and Winnipeg.
While NewLeaf is vowing to expand quickly — starting with three aircraft next week and adding an airplane every month for the rest of the year — other aviation startups have struggled and the first six months of operation will be critical.
To get things going, NewLeaf Travel sent out email offers this week for 50 per cent of base fares. Main competitors such as Air Canada and WestJet Airlines have already quickly responded with competitive fares and new routes.
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