The Winnipeg Airport Authority is ecstatic, the Chambre of Commerce is excited, and Canadians across the country are hoping for a new start date for NewLeaf as quickly as possible.
In January there was great excitement as this bold new venture started selling discount tickets in an aviation industry filled with past casualties.
But consumers cared little about the past as they gobbled up the amazingly low introductory fares being offered by this new airline, with headquarters in Winnipeg for a schedule that included 6, mostly second level airport, Canadian cities.
Then self-appointed industry watchdog Gabo Lucacs, and others, got into the mix and questioned whether NewLeaf had a right to fly since it was not an airline as such, since it was using another carrier.
The concern was that they, NewLeaf, might not be liable should problems occur.
The Canadian Transportation Industry was forced to analyze NewLeaf’s rights to serve the public, which delayed the original starting date for flights by several months.
The regulator has spoken. NewLeaf is not an airline, but a reseller of tickets, which does not put it under the same regulations as the carrier it is selling tickets on behalf of under its brand.
Going forward NewLeaf will have to ensure that all of its marketing materials clearly identify its role as a reseller and nothing more.
According to Jim Young, NewLeaf’s Chief Executive Officer, the first flights will likely now commence in early summer, which will still put them into the prime travel season when airlines tend to make their greatest profits.
NewLeaf markets itself as an ultralow discount carrier. This means you buy a seat and everything else is a menu driven extra.
For Manitoban’s this is a much needed head office gain. For the James Armstrong Richardson Airport it brings much needed padding to its long term traffic goals. And for the consumers it provides an option for flights.