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Finally More Flight Options For Canadians As Air Canada And WestJet Face Stiff Competition

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“Why are plane tickets so expensive in Canada?”: a popular Google search and a frequently asked question in forums like Quora. And the main answer? Limited competition. 

Historically, Canada has ranked among the most expensive countries for air travel, but something is changing in the north. And yes, airplane fares have been skyrocketing worldwide, but there’s an interesting phenomenon happening in Canada.

Airplane flying over toronto skyline

Canadians are experiencing a new era in air travel. New airlines have arrived during the past few years and are competing against the long-time powerful carriers Air Canada and WestJet. The market has been rapidly changing and expanding. It’s an exciting time!

For the first time in decades, Canada has more flight operators offering very competitive services, and travelers have more options and routes. New low-cost airlines are revolutionizing the industry, and the global network is expanding. 

Flair airplane at the airport

Against all odds, during the pandemic, new airlines have had the opportunity to develop and rise, and now that Canada removed all travel restrictions related to Covid-19 more travelers will be able to use the new services and experience the new air market era in Canada.

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View from airplane

How The Air Transport Market Is Expanding

Air Canada, the flag carrier, has been conquering the market since 1936 —it was called Trans-Canada Air Lines until 1964 when the name changed— and has been serving national and international routes. WestJet, the second major and powerful airline in Canada, started serving routes in 1996.  

These two airlines have been dominating air travel for decades. Other important carriers have been on the radar for years, too —like Air Transat, founded in 1986— but it wasn’t until very recently that smaller competitors gained popularity and power. 

Airport lanes in Toronto

These are a few of the main carriers that have been transforming the market during the past few years:

Swoop airplane close-up

With these airlines and the other carriers expanding their services in the markets, Canadians have already been observing very low fares and fresh routes.

Cheaper Domestic And International Flights

Passengers checking in with Air Canada

With the quick expansion of the Ultra-Low-Cost carriers (ULCC) in Canada, traditional airlines have also been forced to adjust prices and services in order to meet customers' demands. Travelers have not only seen great prices for domestic flights—which were previously very difficult to find— but also incredibly low international fares. 

Flair airline airplane taxing

At Travel Off Path, we have shared some of the impressive rates and interesting routes these competitive Canadian carriers are offering. For example, Flair Airlines recently offered flights from Canada to Los Cabos and Cancun in Mexico for as low as $109 one-way.

And Swoop has been serving routes to major US cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Nashville, and Chicago, as well as further destinations like the Dominican Republic. Swoop has also offered cheap domestic flights from Edmonton to Kelowna, Comox, Saskatoon, and Regina, starting at $49.

Skyline of downtown Edmonton Alberta Canada at twilight blue hour.

Perhaps airports also have to adjust to the current travel demand, two Canadian airports ranked among the worst airports in the world by the end of summer this year. Some of the airline's services haven’t been the best either—including the major airline Air Canada— and customers have complained, but there’s hope that competition and the current expansion will become a powerful fuel for improvement and provide more options for travelers.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Monday 24th of October 2022

We also need to stop high airport fees by having the government collect rent on federally owned airport land. As great as this competition is it's not substainable and like history repeating itself carriers will fail. My friends flew Westjet yyz to yhz for 130$ round trip. After airport fees WestJet took home $50 revenue. That's not enough to cover fuel let alone staff, aircraft, gate fees etc