MIAMI — Canadian ultra-low-cost carrier NewLeaf has announced that its service planned to start in February was postponed until the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) completes its review of licensing regulations for Indirect Air Service Providers.
The airline, announced to much fanfare last January 6, is intended to become Canada’s first ultra-low-cost carrier, following the path of American carrier Allegiant Airlines and aimed primarily to attract leisure travellers.
“The reason why we launched on January 6 is because it was confirmed that we were in full compliance of CTA licensing regulations,” explains NewLeaf CEO Jim Young. “The CTA gave us an exemption from holding a licence directly while it reviews its legislation.” NewLeaf planned to commercialize the seats while Kelowna-based Flair Airlines would operate the flights with its Boeing 737 aircraft.
The CTA is reviewing whether persons who do not operate any aircraft, but market and sell air services to the public, should be required to hold Agency licenses. The review applies to all persons operating in this manner and is not limited to NewLeaf’s / Flair Airlines business venture.
“During this uncertain time, we didn’t want to put anyone with existing bookings at risk, and we wanted to give customers time to make other travel arrangements” says Young. The carrier will refund all credit card transactions for reservations that were scheduled to begin on Feb. 12, 2016.
Despite this setback, NewLeaf expects to resume sales tickets during Spring. “Canadians have clearly spoken that they want this type of low‐cost service” says Young. “As soon as the review is complete, we will make any required amendments if necessary, and resume sales as soon as possible.”