“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.
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.
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.
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.
These are a few of the main carriers that have been transforming the market during the past few years:
- Flair Airlines—founded in 2005— wants to become Canada’s leading low-cost airline and will be offering over 70 cheap routes in 2023.
- Lynx Air —founded in 2006 as Enerjet— relaunched during the pandemic with a brand new name and a new low-cost strategy, with which the company started serving customers at the beginning of 2022. The company recently announced 4 new routes connecting Canada to the US.
- Jetlines—founded in 2013— has also recently relaunched services this year and is slowly expanding its low-cost network.
- Swoop—founded in 2017 and owned by WestJet— has also been offering Canadian travelers competitive prices even to Caribbean destinations like the Dominican Republic.
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
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.
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.
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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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com