Low-cost airline Flair to launch Ottawa-Kelowna routes this summer

Flair airliner
A Flair Airlines plane takes off in Vancouver. File photo

Low-cost air carrier Flair Airlines said Tuesday it plans to add twice-weekly flights between Ottawa and Kelowna, B.C., to its growing list of routes that are slated to start service again this summer.

The company said the route will launch on Aug. 4, offering flights on Wednesdays and Saturdays. One-way fares will start at $59 including taxes and fees.

The Edmonton-based carrier said it expects to fly to 19 destinations by the end of summer. Flair is adding 13 aircraft to its fleet this year as it ramps up for an expected resurgence in air travel as vaccinations roll out and people feel more comfortable about flying.

“We know there is pent up demand for people to see families and have affordable vacations once it is safe for us to travel again,” Stephen Jones, the airline’s president and CEO, said in a statement. 

Flair originally planned to start flying into Ottawa last summer with routes connecting Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax and Toronto to the capital, but those plans were put on hold due to the pandemic.

Plummeting passenger volumes

A spokesperson did not immediately respond Tuesday when asked whether more flights in and out of YOW would be added to the airline’s schedule this summer.

Renewed demand for air travel and additional routes to accommodate it would come as a welcome relief to officials at Ottawa’s airport, which has seen passenger volumes plummet since the COVID-19 crisis began.

Ottawa International Airport Authority CEO Mark Laroche told OBJ last month that just one million passengers are projected to pass through the terminal in 2021, down from 1.4 million last year and 5.1 million two years ago. 

He said the not-for-profit facility ​– which generates virtually all of its revenues from landing fees charged to airlines, terminal and airport improvement fees levied on passengers as well as concessions and parking ​– faces a $70-million shortfall this year and needs federal help to finance projects such as a planned LRT station.