Lynx Air, Canada’s New Ultra Low Cost Carrier

Canada may soon be getting yet another ultra low cost carrier.

Lynx Air, a new Calgary-based ULCC

Lynx Air will be a new Calgary-based ultra low cost carrier (ULCC), and should start flying in early 2022. The airline plans to take delivery of three Boeing 737 MAXs in early 2022, and has firm orders and lease agreements in place to acquire a total of 46 aircraft over the next seven years, to meet anticipated demand. The airline promises low fares and great customer service, and plans to announce routes and product details soon.

Merren McArthur has been named CEO of Lynx Air, which gives some legitimacy to the concept. She has served as CEO of Tigerair Australia, CEO of Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, and founding CEO of Virgin Australia Cargo.

Here’s how McArthur describes plans for the airline:

“We are excited to bring competition and choice to the Canadian aviation market at a time when Canadians are yearning for the opportunity to fly again, whether it be to see friends and family or to take a long-awaited holiday. We have created an ultra-affordable fare structure which is focused on simplicity, transparency and choice. Our à la carte pricing will empower passengers to pick and pay for the services they want, so they can save money on the trip and spend where it counts – at their destination.”

Lynx Air will fly 737 MAXs

Lynx Air isn’t a totally new company

The concept of Lynx Air isn’t coming out of nowhere, and I’m not sure if this gives more or less credibility to the concept.

Enerjet is the Calgary-based company behind Lynx Air. The charter airline was founded in 2006, and commenced operations in 2008. The airline primarily transported oil sand workers to job sites in Alberta, and also had contracts with tour and holiday operators.

However, the airline doesn’t currently have any planes, though the order of some 737 MAX aircraft was done by Enerjet. Going back at least five years, Enerjet was planning on launching an ultra low cost carrier, which used the temporary placeholder name FlyToo. The airline had trouble launching due to issues with getting adequately capitalized, specifically due to Canada’s laws against foreign airline ownership.

It looks like Lynx Air is the latest attempt by Enerjet to get this airline concept off the ground. Whether or not it actually happens this time remains to be seen.

Enerjet is behind Lynx Air

Canadian aviation is becoming more competitive

Historically Canadian aviation wasn’t particularly competitive, at least on domestic and transborder routes, with Air Canada and WestJet being the big players. However, there’s no denying that Canadian consumers will benefit from a lot more competition, especially among ultra low cost carriers. In addition to the low cost carriers of Air Canada and WestJet (Rouge and Swoop), you have airlines like Flair, OWG, Porter, Sunwing, and more.

I can’t help but wonder just how much competition the Canadian market can sustain. Canada has a population of just 38 million people, and while it’s a country with a lot of travel (both Canadians trying to leave the country in winter to enjoy warm weather, and foreigners coming to Canada in summer and winter to enjoy the natural beauty), there are still limits to how much total demand there is.

For example, Flair and Lynx Air each plan to acquire roughly 50 Boeing 737s, and offer an ultra low cost carrier business model. Is there really room for that much competition? Time will tell, I suppose…

Flair also has a lot of 737 MAXs on order

Bottom line

Lynx Air plans to launch operations in early 2022 with Boeing 737 MAXs, and become Canada’s newest ultra low cost carrier. While the branding is new, the concept behind this airline has been in the works for a very long time. I’m curious to see if the airline actually launches this time around, and if so, how it goes.

The competition is good for consumers, though are we starting to get to the point where the Canadian market is becoming saturated?

What do you make of Lynx Air?

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