WINNIPEG – A new player in the Winnipeg air travel game took off Monday morning.
Discount airline NewLeaf had initially planned to launch months ago, but that plan was thrown off the runway due to a licensing review by the Canadian Transportation Agency.
NewLeaf’s first flight left Hamilton at 9 a.m. and landed in Winnipeg at just after 12:00 p.m.
— Brittany Greenslade (@BrittAtGlobal) July 25, 2016
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine though: there’s still a chance of an emergency injunction, as passenger-rights advocate Gabor Lukacs has asked a federal court to get NewLeaf to put up a performance bond.
McMaster University business professor Marvin Ryder explains what that means.
“Why Gabor has done this, and I think it’s a fair commentary, is if an airline were to cease operation and could strand passengers somewhere, he wants to make sure the company has the cash to bring those passengers back.”
And even though Winnipeggers, and Canadians, love a good deal, Ryder says the odds are stacked against New Leaf.
“Based on past performance, unfortunately I’m going to have to only give it about a 10 per cent chance of success. In the last 25 years, we’ve seen 20 airlines start and only two have survived: WestJet and Porter. The rest have bit the dust.”
However, Jim Young, CEO of NewLeaf is optimistic about the company’s chances.
“We believe we’ve got a good formula,” says Young. “A lot of the ultra low cost carriers that… operate around the world… we think that they’ve got it right and we’re focusing on that.”
NewLeaf will fly to 11 spots in Canada and is partnering with Flair Airlines, which will provide the planes, crew and maintenance.