first_imgTORONTO – Flair Airlines is planning to leave Hamilton this fall for Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, just months new ultra low cost rival Swoop landed at the smaller airport.The airline based in Kelowna, B.C., said Friday that its Hamilton service will end on Oct. 27.“After extensive analysis we made the determination that due to market size and competition we felt that we could have a greater impact in Toronto,” spokeswoman Julie Rempel said in an interview.Even though Pearson costs are higher, Flair’s yields and passenger load factors were higher for its flights to Edmonton and consistently outperformed flights from Hamilton, she said.Routes to Winnipeg and Edmonton will be transferred to Toronto while seasonal flights between Halifax and Toronto are slated to start next spring.Flair will next week announce its first service to the United States with flights to six destinations starting in December. It is also finalizing a change in aircraft type.The airline had the John C. Munro airport in Hamilton to itself as an ultra low cost carrier until WestJet’s Swoop subsidiary set up its eastern Canadian base of operations in June.Asked if there is room for two ultra low cost competitors in Hamilton, Rempel said Flair isn’t sticking around to find out.WestJet declined to comment on Flair’s move but spokeswoman Lauren Stewart said its success over the years demonstrates that the Hamilton community loves the combination of low fares and the guest experience.“We are now providing the community with more options with the creation of Swoop which positions us to compete against other ULCCs and serve our markets appropriately, ensuring the continued growth and expansion of WestJet into a global airline,” she said.The Hamilton airport said it was disappointed by Flair’s decision to withdraw, but says it is well-suited for low-cost carriers because its low fees allow the airlines to pass along savings to customers.“I think Canadians are looking for those options and Hamilton is geographically very well-positioned to host carriers like Swoop,” said Dina Carlucci, the airport’s director of marketing and communications.Despite Flair’s claims about the Hamilton market, Carlucci said the secondary airport is an hour’s drive from Pearson and within reach to nine million people within a two hour driving radius.In addition to Swoop, Norwegian Airlines plans to launch service next spring to Dublin.Transat and Sunwing are considering expanding their seasonal service and Air Canada is preparing to increase the frequency of its daily service to Montreal to three flight a day, she said.“It is disappointing that Flair is stepping away but there’s equally a lot of interest and I’m not even naming the other carriers we’re in talks with now that I’m not privy to disclose.”Companies in this story: (TSX:WJA, TSX:AC, TSX:TRZ)last_img

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