Flair confirmed the rapid expansion of its fleet with the addition of 14 more B737MAX8s. Remember that last January, the discount carrier ordered 13 MAX. Currently, it has 12 in service and is expected to have 20 by summer 2022. The 14 extra planes will be financed with various leasing companies and not exclusively with 777 Partners. Flair goal is still to have a fleet of 50 aircraft after five years of existence. To underline this announcement, management held a virtual press conference with the media.
Company CEO Stephen Jones has mentioned he would like to add MAX8-200s to the fleet but there was no short-term delivery window available. As soon as the opportunity arises, Flair will take the available Max8-200.
Some of the 14 new aircraft will be used to improve the frequency on existing destinations. The remainder will be used for network expansion and announcements are due in January. In fact, Flair will be opening new bases of operations in Canada with this announcement. When asked about the possibility of offering flights to New York and other places, Mr. Jones smiled. Although Mr. Jones declined to confirm, his enthusiasm for flights to New York was evident.
To fly the 14 new planes, the airline will have to hire around 1,000 more people. Flair don’t worry too much about the pilot shortage. Mr. Jones noted that in the past, several Canadian pilots had moved abroad in order to be able to work. They returned during the pandemic and are now available here.
The Occupancy Rate
During the past summer, Flair’s occupancy rate was over 90%. Then the successive arrival of the Delta and Omicron variants brought it down to below 90%. But the holiday season is going to push the traffic up again. It seems that the response has been good in all the regions where Flair is. But transcontinental flights are said to be the most popular, according to company executives. Toronto-Vancouver and Montreal-Vancouver flights fall into this category.
There is some controversy about Flair’s shareholding not respecting the 49% foreign capital limits. Executives at the Edmonton-based company say they are following all applicable rules. Either way, the Liberals have turned Transport Canada into a toothless, declawed, sweet domestic cat. Even if the company was slightly outlawed, the Minister of Transport will not shut it down. Click here to subscribe to our free YouTube channel>>> Follow us on Facebook and Twitter