SAINT JOHN – A new discount airline will be offering another alternative for passengers to fly from Saint John to Toronto this summer.
Flair Airlines announced Wednesday that it’s selected the Saint John Airport (YSJ) as its exclusive New Brunswick destination.
Flair’s first flight from the Saint John Airport (YSJ) to Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ) will be on June 25. Airport president and CEO Derrick Stanford says Flair was attracted to YSJ’s untapped passenger base, since many people in the area choose to fly out of other places for cheaper fares.
“The Saint John Airport has been underexploited for quite some time in that if you look at our passenger numbers, they’re not truly reflective of the potential in our community or our ‘catchment area,’ as it’s called in the industry. We’ve been trying to find that right mix of airline offerings. It’s important that you when you meet with an airline that you’re able to demonstrate how successful they can be here,” said Stanford in an interview with Huddle.
“Even though the airport does just under 300,000 passengers a year, but the Saint John market is more like 550-600,000 passengers-a-year market. An airline can come in here and there are all kinds of potential passengers that use other airports.”
Flair uses an “unbundled” approach that helps keep their fairs consistently low. They offer options where passengers only pay for what they want, like checked or carry-on luggage, seat selection, online check-in for cost savings, as well as food and beverage choices. Right now, a one-way flight to Toronto can be as low as $79.
“Flair is thrilled to provide service to New Brunswick at Saint John. Residents of the area have been restricted by high airfares for too long and we believe it’s time for change,” said Sarah Riches, Flair Airlines’ director of commercial, in a news release. “We are committed to connecting Canadians with their family and friends across the country and are looking forward to bringing some ‘Flair’ to the market in Saint John.”
Flair Airlines operates scheduled passenger services in Canada from its main hub at Edmonton International Airpor and offers connections to Western Canadian destinations including Vancouver, Kelowna, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg via Toronto. Its eastern destinations include Ottawa, Halifax, Charlottetown and Saint John.
The direct Saint John to Toronto flight will be offered four times per week and operated with a 156-seat Boeing 737-400 aircraft. Stanford said if the service is well-used by Saint John travellers, more Flair destinations could come.
“Where we need help with our passengers is on the leisure side. We’ve had some real good discussions with Flair about potential offerings in the South, like Florida or even the Caribbean for next winter and fall,” he said. “Obviously it’s pending the success of the Toronto route and getting passengers used to the brand and making them aware Flair is an option now.”