COMOX, B.C. – An ultra low-cost flight carrier is sweeping the nation.
Swoop, a subsidiary of WestJet, officially launched service earlier this year.
It’s currently offering flights out of Abbotsford, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton and Halifax, with plans to expand in the future.
However, one airport that is not using the services of Swoop is YQQ.
“As they roll out this new fleet, they (Swoop) will be targeting those bigger cities that will have the kind of numbers that will fill those airplanes up,” said Comox Valley Airport CEO Fred Bigelow.
“They’re (ultra low-cost carriers) trying to target the people who would not otherwise fly. For example, say you sent your kid off to the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and let’s say you live in the Lower Mainland, you might not bring your child home for a Thanksgiving dinner but if you can get that flight for 99 bucks each way, you’d probably do it.”
Bigelow said the one aspect working for the Comox Valley Airport is that ultra low-cost carriers like to operate from low-priced aerodromes.
“We are one of the lowest cost aerodromes in the country, thanks in large part to the fact that the federal government built this aerodrome and maintains it, of course through the Royal Canadian Air Force,” Bigelow said.
“That said, (these carriers) need to see some serious population numbers to justify their business model.”
He said that he does not expect to see any ultra low-cost carriers coming to the Valley’s airport any time soon, but it is a possibility somewhere down the line.
“There’s other players out there, and as the competition builds, maybe they will be reaching out to the smaller markets but I expect all the ultra low-cost carriers to be focusing their efforts on major centres like the Lower Mainland, Southern Ontario, and bigger cities like Edmonton and Calgary.”