New Leaf Travel credits Canadians for its success

New Leaf Travel credits Canadians for its success

Tania Moffat

Finally a low fare airline option has gotten off the ground in Canada. New Leaf Travel Company Inc. is up and running after cutting through all the red tape thrown at them when they first announced their arrival. Canada is a difficult place for any new airline start-up for many reasons, which is why we were the only major world market without an ultralow-cost airline. Were, being the key word.

On June 23, New Leaf announced it would resume sales for flights to 11 Canadian destinations. President and CEO Jim Young credited the 16,000plus Canadians who “purchased tickets and placed their trust in New Leaf Travel Company. We’ve accomplished a lot, and walked through many hurdles in order to deliver an ultra-low cost travel service.”

New Leaf is a privately-held Canadian company headquartered in Winnipeg that provides leisure travellers with low fares and unbundled travel options on flights operated by their partner, Flair Airlines Ltd., a licensed Canadian airline with offices in Kelowna, Calgary and Hamilton.

Flair Airlines, operational since 2003,has a strong safety record and owns and operates a fleet of Boeing 737-400passenger jets. Officially, New Leaf is a reseller of air services, and is not required to hold an airline licence, allowing them to provide Canadians with the low fares we want.

Most of the destinations offered are non-stop flights not currently available from existing airlines, for example Hamilton, Victoria and Kelowna. Flights that do make a stop, have only one, and customers don’t even have to get out of their seat, saving them time and money.

New Leaf sells directly to the public through their website, which also saves customers money as they are not paying anything to other booking sites. They currently offer flights to 11 different Canadian destinations– Halifax, Moncton, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Kelowna, Kamloops, Abbotsford and Victoria.

How do they do it? Low fare flights are possible. A traveller just needs to decide what they can or cannot live without on their flight. One of the characteristics of an ultra-low-cost carrier is that they keep fares low by charging for extras, including things passengers may not be used to paying for.

The base advertised seat fare comes completely unbundled. It includes your seat, a seat belt and one personal item, like a purse or briefcase. From here any items that you want to include are added à-la-carte style – it’s all up to you. If you want a carry-on bag, New Leaf charges $40 at the check-in counter or $80 at the gate.

Checking your bag is actually cheaper:$35 at the check-in counter ($70 at the gate) for the first bag, and $45 at the check-in counter ($90 at the gate)for the second bag. Want priority seating? Seat selection? Printed boarding passes? Food or snacks? It’s all extra, but you only pay for what you want.

The seven First Nation owners of South Beach Casino have formed a separate business consortium and are making a significant investment in New Leaf. “South Beach Capital Partners are excited by the opportunity to become part owners of New Leaf and to share in its growth,” said Jim Bear, chief of Broken head Ojibway Nation, speaking on behalf of the First Nations investment group.

“We have made a significant investment that we are confident will be returned many times over. Profits can be used to improve residents’ lives in our home communities, and to finance further development opportunities, both social and economic.” We are honoured by the trust and commitment that SBCP has shown New Leaf and welcome them as financial partners.” said Jim Young,

If their sold out inaugural flight from Hamilton to Moncton on July29 is any indication for the future, the future looks bright for New Leaf.

“This exceeds our projections, and we are thrilled. In addition, many of our flights are near capacity. We know Canadian shave been waiting for this service, and are delighted to increase their travel options,” Young adds.

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