When it comes to travel within Canada, ultra low cost airfare company Newleaf is making major inroads.
Along with partner Flair Airlines, the company is celebrating its 1,000th flight and the transport of more than 100 thousand passengers in just four months.
Taking off from Hamilton’s John C. Munro International airport, flight 001 made it’s way to Winnipeg.
The milestone flight is not the only measure of success for the company.
There is also the impact on the industry as a whole.
According to travel app Hopper, Newleaf is changing the face of domestic travel.
Fares are down by 23 per cent across the bigger airlines offering flights on the same core routes.
CEO Jim Young says, being able to achieve this in such a short period of time is no small feat.
“Our competitors have chosen to fly right over top of us, so, Hamilton is benefiting from that because they’re actually getting additional services from our competitors as well as ourselves and as a result this airport will becomes busier” said Young.
Vijay Bathija, President and CEO of Hamilton’s International Airport says Newleaf has brought a breadth of destinations so that more people actually choose Hamilton.
It’s also becoming a key corridor.
“Flights are not just from Hamilton, it also connects the country from East to West” says Bathija, praising the new business.
“People are actually connecting via Hamilton to go from say, Halifax to Abbotsford.”
Bathija says there are at least 3,000 additional travelers making their way through the airport on a monthly basis thanks to Newleaf.
Part of making this model work according to Young is basing flights on seasonal demand, which at times means pulling out of certain destinations.
Newleaf removed Victoria and Saskatoon most recently but Young says they will be back next summer.
It’s also about catering to the leisure traveler, Young stresses.
“We are actually attracting people who are not making airline choices, they’re actually making travel choices, they’re choosing to travel because the fares are low.”