Discount carrier Lynx Air to launch service to Ottawa next spring

Lynx Air stock image

Lynx Air is the latest discount carrier to touch down in the Ottawa market as competition ramps up in the Canadian aviation industry.

The Calgary-based airline said Monday it will begin flying to Ottawa International Airport from Calgary and Vancouver on May 17, 2024. One-way fares are expected to start at $79, including taxes.

Lynx will offer four flights a week to and from both destinations on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The Ottawa-Vancouver service will operate as a “through flight” with a short stop in Calgary to pick up and drop off passengers. 

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Lynx CEO Jim Sullivan said in a statement Monday the airline will be the only budget carrier offering flights to Ottawa from Calgary and Vancouver. 

Edmonton-based Flair Airlines, a low-cost carrier that began serving Ottawa in 2021 and currently offers non-stop flights to 11 destinations, including Calgary and Vancouver, told YOW officials earlier this fall it plans to reduce service to the nation’s capital starting next summer.

The airline did not specify which routes would be cut.

“Lynx’s presence enhances our commitment to providing accessible and convenient travel options for all,” Ottawa International Airport Authority president and CEO Mark Laroche said in a statement.

Ottawa is the 19th destination served by Lynx Air, which was founded in 2006 and was previously known as Enerjet. 

The privately owned company shifted to a discount model two years ago, rebranding as Lynx Air and expanding across Canada and the United States. 

Monday’s announcement comes as the Ottawa Airport continues to bounce back from the pandemic, which grounded the majority of the terminal’s flights for the past three years and caused a steep decline in passenger traffic.

More than 3.4 million passengers travelled through YOW in the first 10 months of 2023, more than in all of the previous year. Earlier this year, the airport authority said it was launching a study to determine when it will be necessary to expand the terminal, which opened in 2003.

Several new routes have been added to the airport’s schedule this year as the industry regains momentum. 

Toronto-based Porter Airlines, for example, announced new service to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport as well as other North American destinations such as Vancouver, Edmonton, Charlottetown, Boston, Newark, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. 

Meanwhile, Air France launched new non-stop routes between YOW and Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport this past summer, marking the return of transatlantic flights to Ottawa for the first time since 2020 when COVID-19 wiped out the airport’s international routes.

Airport officials predict four million passengers will use the facility this year, a 33 per cent increase from 2022, with traffic expected to increase to 4.75 million in 2024. 

By 2030, the airport authority is projecting that 5.6 million passengers will fly through YOW.

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