Lynx Air: Budget travel in trouble in Canada



The demise of Calgary-based ultra-low-cost airline Lynx Air will imply Canadians have much less selection in terms of low cost air journey and will pay greater fares, business specialists say.


Citing monetary pressures resembling these linked with inflation and gas prices, Lynx Air officers introduced Thursday night that the airline had filed for creditor safety. It can proceed to function flights till midnight MST on Feb. 26. Lynx flew its first flight in April 2022.


“Each effort is being made to help passengers at the moment,” the airline stated in a launch. “Passengers with present bookings are suggested to contact their bank card firm to safe refunds for pre-booked journey. Further info for Lynx clients is on the market on the Continuously Requested Questions web page.”


Lynx Air’s collapse comes as Toronto-based Porter Airways CEO Michael Deluce stated in December that the journey market is just too small to maintain all of Canada’s airways afloat for 2 extra years. WestJet shut down its finances subsidiary Swoop and folded it into its mainline operation in October. It plans to additionally try this with Sunwing Airways.


John Gradek, a college lecturer at McGill College in Montreal with experience on air passenger rights laws and airline operations, says Canadians have fewer selections.


“Canadian air travellers are the massive losers,” stated Gradek in a telephone interview with CTVNews.ca on Friday. “Canadians are about to lose low costs, and the steadiness of the Canadian air journey market is in danger.”


Gradek says it will likely be robust for passengers to search out comparable offers.


“It is unlucky Lynx Air suspended providers at the beginning of spring break journey, so if Lynx passengers are on the lookout for obtainable seats for present carriers, selections are few and much between,” he stated. “I might look to (the) minister of transport to supply some reduction to those Lynx passengers by means of his efforts to get remaining carriers to supply Lynx passengers seats.”


Pablo Rodriguez, Canada’s minister of transport, stated his workplace has been in contact with Lynx Air.


“For any travellers that had a return flight booked with Lynx, I anticipate Lynx that can assist you get again residence as quickly as attainable,” Rodriguez stated in a press release Thursday posted on X. “I anticipate Lynx to totally refund you in case your fare will not be honoured.”


Lauren Yakiwchuk, a full-time journey blogger and content material creator in Georgetown, Ont., says the tip of Lynx Air is “unhealthy information” for finances journey in Canada.


“As Canadians, we all the time hope for extra airline choices as we solely have a couple of in comparison with different nations on this planet,” Yakiwchuk stated in an e-mail to CTVNews.ca. “We all the time look to Europe and the way they’re capable of jet round fairly cheaply. Whereas we have now better distances to cowl in Canada, there’s all the time the hope for extra low value choices. … It is a disgrace to see them shutdown, particularly as Canadians plan their spring and summer time travels for 2024.”


Business troubles


Gradek stated the federal government has an element to play within the low-cost service business’s present troubles for the reason that ministry of transport points licences for low-cost carriers.


“There ought to have been and must be some recognition {that a} low-cost market might solely assist sure capability in Canada,” he defined. “The minister abdicated duty to make sure the financial viability of air providers. The minister of transport can resolve the issue of carriers going bankrupt by limiting the licence of low-cost carriers however extra importantly to supply oversight on pricing actions undertaken by (the) likes of Air Canada and WestJet in markets the place they compete with low-cost carriers.”


In response to Gradek’s criticism, a spokesperson for Transport Canada referred CTVNews.ca to the minister’s post on X.


Barry Prentice, director of the Transport Institute and professor of provide chain administration on the I.H. Asper College of Enterprise on the College of Manitoba in Winnipeg, says he does not anticipate Lynx Air’s collapse to have a lot of an impression on finances journey in Canada till not less than the summer time as a result of it is off-season for journey now.


“The character of their impression can be comparatively slender as a result of they solely served some main routes they usually have numerous competitors,” Prentice stated in an e-mail to CTVNews.ca.


“Usually talking it ought to give Aptitude a bit extra respiratory room as a result of there are travellers who’re actually proud of the barebones service at a low value. … About the one factor that we will say with some certainty is that no new finances ‘airline-want-a-bes’ are prone to attempt to fill the hole at this level.”


Whereas he could not talk about the way forward for finances journey, he stated he hopes Lynx Air’s exit might assist Aptitude set up its foothold.


“However the historical past of airways in Canada is that it’s laborious for third or fourth smaller corporations to outlive towards the complete service WestJet and Air Canada,” Prentice stated. “Whether or not Canada’s rising inhabitants will assistance is unsure. The true drawback is geography. Everybody flies the identical locations and needs to go on the identical time.”


Treatment for passengers


Gabor Lukacs, president of Air Passenger Rights, says he is additionally involved the tip of Lynx Air might end in greater airfares for Canadians.


He says passengers who purchased Lynx Air tickets can get a refund by means of client safety laws in the event that they paid utilizing a bank card in most provinces. British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec even have provincial compensation funds for passengers who bought tickets by means of provincial journey brokers, he added.


Passengers affected by Lynx Air’s shutdown are eligible for a 25 per cent low cost on all financial system fares on continuous WestJet routes beforehand served by Lynx for journey between Feb. 22 and Oct. 26. The low cost is on the market till Feb. 29.


For any passengers who deliberate to fly again to Canada from the US or solar locations earlier than Feb. 29, WestJet has capped fares at $250, plus taxes and costs, for any northbound financial system cabin fares on continuous routes beforehand served by Lynx.


“All bookings ought to be made on-line by means of westjet.com. WestJet has managed pricing to make sure fares replicate a discount from what would usually be charged,” WestJet stated in a press launch.


The airline stated all home fares on continuous routes beforehand served by Lynx is not going to exceed $500, plus taxes and costs, for journey up till Feb. 29.


With information from CTVNewsCalgary.ca and The Canadian Press





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