NewLeaf

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NewLeaf Travel Company
Industry Virtual airline
Founded April 2015
Defunct July 25, 2017
Headquarters Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Owner Flair Airlines
Website flynewleaf.ca/ Edit this on Wikidata

NewLeaf Travel Company Inc., branded as NewLeaf, was a Canadian virtual airline, or ticket reseller, based at Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport in Manitoba. It sold tickets for flights operated by Flair Airlines.

In June 2017 Flair Airlines bought the company, with plans to expand its service.[1] The NewLeaf brand was retired on July 25, 2017 when the scheduled flights were brought under the Flair Airlines brand.[2][3]

History[edit]

NewLeaf was founded in April 2015 and originally described as an ultra low-cost carrier.[4][5] As a result of the CTA case, the company was later positioned instead as a reseller, buying airline seats and then reselling them to the public.[6]

Jim Young, a former executive of Frontier Airlines and Canada Jetlines, proposed the venture. Young announced the airline will fly to secondary airports in Canada in order to save on landing fees; it will also offer vacation packages, after experimenting with selling spring ski packages to the Okanagan. The airline will partner with Flair Airlines, which will provide aircraft, crew and maintenance.[7][8]

On June 8, 2015, the company selected Winnipeg Airport as its headquarters and hub, along with Kelowna Airport and Hamilton Airport as bases.[9][10]

In July 2016 two consulting companies who had done work in 2014 and 2015 for NewLeaf levelled complaints that they had not been paid a total of $135,000 owed. The unpaid bills raised media concerns that the company was having solvency issues, although a lawyer representing NewLeaf characterized the issues as supplier disagreements. One of the unpaid vendors launched a lawsuit against the company in July 2016 for the owed $76,000.[11][12]

On July 12, 2016 media reports indicated that the company was no longer planning to serve Fort St. John, British Columbia, an initially-planned destination.[13] Just five days prior to the first scheduled flights the company had not finalized arrangements, including landing fee deposits with Kelowna International Airport.[12]

In July 2016, just before launching their service, the company was noted by CBC News as having some of the highest extra fees in the airline industry. CBC singled out NewLeaf for their fees of up to $92 to bring a carry-on bag on a flight and up to $80.50 for each checked bag.[14]

A management analyst from the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management, Joe D’Cruz, indicated in July 2016 that the outstanding unpaid consultants and lack of airport deposits indicated that the company may be underfunded for start-up. In his evaluation, D’Cruz called the company a "shoestring effort" and assessed its chances of surviving a year in business as under 25%.[12]

The first Flair Airlines flight operated for NewLeaf took off on July 25, 2016, departing Hamilton for Winnipeg.[15]

The company had announced that it would offer flights from Calgary and Edmonton to Phoenix–Mesa Gateway Airport commencing January 19, 2017 and from Hamilton to Orlando Melbourne International Airport, commencing January 15, 2017, but on January 3, 2017 they cancelled both routes, indicating that competition from WestJet on the same routes made them non-viable.[16][17] The company had already sold many tickets to both new destinations when they cancelled the routes. NewLeaf is only refunding passengers the money that they paid, even though the Canadian Transportation Agency's notice to carriers standards of practice require them to book passengers on another airline, since the cancellation was under the company's control. Passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs said, "it appears they are skirting their obligation to the public. This is a very very troublesome attitude." The CTA confirmed that because it is not an airline that the company does not fall under its jurisdiction. Airline analyst Rick Erickson said, "that's one of the risks you take when you go with a new startup versus one of the very well established majors. You can't be selling a $150 ticket to Phoenix, one way, and begin to think you can put that passenger on another carrier. Say a U.S. carrier going over Denver, the ticket is going to be $450, and NewLeaf just can't handle those costs."[18]

In January 2017 NewLeaf cancelled a series of Sunday flights from Hamilton to Halifax, Halifax to Hamilton, Abbotsford to Edmonton and from Edmonton to Kelowna, citing a scheduling conflict with Flair Airlines that resulted in a lack of aircraft to fly the routes. NewLeaf spokeswoman Julie Rempel said that the "schedule change" would last six weeks and stated that "passengers have either been re-accommodated or can travel with us on a different day."[19]

In June 2017 Flair Airlines bought NewLeaf. Flair said, "expansion is planned for new destinations beginning this year, plus the fall and winter domestic schedule will be released shortly,"[1]

Legal challenge[edit]

On January 6, 2016, NewLeaf held press conferences at its three bases to announce it would begin flights on February 12, 2016.[20][21] However, on January 18 NewLeaf announced the inaugural date had been postponed until the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) completed review of its licensing procedures. The review was to determine whether NewLeaf would be allowed to operate under an indirect licence, i.e. the licence of Flair Airlines or require its own operating certificate. While the case was being considered by the CTA, NewLeaf refunded all previously sold tickets.[22][23] On March 29, 2016, the CTA completed the review and ruled that these airlines are not required to hold separate licenses.[24][25]

Following the March 2016 ruling, NewLeaf indicated that they would soon resume booking, however the next month, Gábor Lukács, an air passenger advocate, filed a request for leave to appeal the CTA decision to the Federal Court of Appeal[26] and the court granted leave for the appeal.[27] The company announced on June 23, 2016 that they would commence selling tickets immediately for flights that would start on July 25, 2016.[28][29]

In late July the company announced that it was suing Lukács in the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench for defamation, requesting unspecified damages. The company alleged that Lukács carried out an "unrelenting, aggressive and malicious attack" via social media and published "false and/or misleading" information about the company and its business model.[30]

Destinations[edit]

NewLeaf sold tickets for flights to the following destinations (flights operated by Flair Airlines):[31]

Country City Airport Notes Ref.
Canada Abbotsford Abbotsford International Airport [32]
Canada Calgary Calgary International AirportSeasonal [33]
Canada Edmonton Edmonton International Airport [32]
Canada Halifax Halifax Stanfield International Airport [32]
Canada Hamilton John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport [32]
Canada Kamloops Kamloops Airport Suspended [34]
Canada Kelowna Kelowna International Airport Suspended [32]
Canada Regina Regina International Airport Suspended [34]
Canada Moncton Greater Moncton International Airport Suspended [32]
Canada Saskatoon Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport Suspended [34]
Canada Victoria Victoria International Airport Suspended [34]
Canada Winnipeg Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport [32]

Fleet[edit]

NewLeaf, as a virtual airline, did not own or operate any aircraft directly but sold tickets on services operated by Flair Airlines using Boeing 737-400 aircraft.[35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Evans, Pete (7 June 2017). "Flair Airlines buys NewLeaf travel company". CBC News. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Airline turning over a 'NewLeaf' on anniversary". CTV News Winnipeg. July 25, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  3. ^ McNeil, Shane (July 25, 2017). "NewLeaf begins 'new chapter' with name change". BNN. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  4. ^ "Canadian start-up NewLeaf Airways eyes ULCC model". Ch-aviation. April 14, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  5. ^ Marello, Poppy (April 30, 2015). "Start-Up Carriers: Who’s New for April?". Routes Online. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  6. ^ UBM (UK) Ltd. 2016 (4 April 2016). "Canadian travel company NewLeaf rebranded as 'reseller'". routesonline. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  7. ^ Jang, Brent (April 6, 2015). "New budget airline NewLeaf Travel seeks clearance for takeoff". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  8. ^ Bernier, Nicolas (January 6, 2016). "Meet Canada’s New ULCC: New Leaf Travel". Airways News. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  9. ^ "Canadian ULCC start-up NewLeaf selects Winnipeg hub". Ch-aviation. June 11, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  10. ^ "NewLeaf Travel Company Inc. Headquarters at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport". Winnipeg Richardson International Airport. June 8, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  11. ^ "Unpaid bills raise concerns about NewLeaf Travel Co's financial viability". financialpost.com. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  12. ^ a b c Lord, Ross. "NewLeaf faced with lawsuit, dire predictions ahead of take-off". globalnews.ca. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  13. ^ "NewLeaf scraps flights to Fort St. John - Energeticcity.ca". energeticcity.ca. 12 July 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  14. ^ "Airfares are down but added fees reach new heights". CBC News. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  15. ^ Bennett, Kelly (July 25, 2016). "NewLeaf's 1st flight departs Hamilton for Winnipeg". CBC News. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  16. ^ "NewLeaf cancels flights to Phoenix, blames Westjet for muscling in on route". cbc.ca. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  17. ^ Young, Jim, President & CEO, NewLeaf Travel Company. "Travelling in Canada is no easy feat". facebook.com. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  18. ^ "NewLeaf accused of 'skirting' obligation to pay for rebooking Alberta-Arizona flights". CBC News. 4 January 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  19. ^ "NewLeaf cancels more flights amid 'schedule change'". CBC News. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  20. ^ Evans, Pete (January 6, 2016). "NewLeaf to offer cheap Canadian flights through 7 cities next month". CBC News. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  21. ^ Elliott, Josh (January 6, 2016). "New discount airline offers Canadian flights for $89". CTV News. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  22. ^ Ali, Anwar (January 18, 2016). "NewLeaf Travel suspends ticket sales, issues refunds while licensing rules reviewed". Financial Post. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  23. ^ "NewLeaf discount airline postpones service, will refund tickets". CBC News. January 18, 2016. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  24. ^ "NewLeaf discount flight company gets clearance to sell tickets". cbc.ca. 30 March 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  25. ^ "Decision No. 100-A-2016". otc-cta.gc.ca. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  26. ^ "Advocate appeals NewLeaf decision". winnipegfreepress.com. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  27. ^ Travellers await relaunch of low-cost flight reseller NewLeaf, CTV News, retrieved on June 10, 2016.
  28. ^ "Discount travel company NewLeaf ready to take flight starting next month". CBC News. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  29. ^ "Discount airfare ticket seller NewLeaf Travel resumes sales for July 25 launch". CTV News. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  30. ^ "NewLeaf lawsuit against passenger advocate Gabor Lukacs alleges defamation". CBC News. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  31. ^ "NewLeaf passengers must take up complaints with Flair Airlines, court rules - Toronto Star". Toronto Star.
  32. ^ a b c d e f g "Newleaf Outlines Planned New Network for July 2016 Launch". routesonline. June 24, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  33. ^ Hughes, Jodi (October 17, 2016). "NewLeaf Travel to offer Calgary flights by December". Global News. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  34. ^ a b c d "NewLeaf puts Regina, Saskatoon flights into holding pattern". CBC News. September 16, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  35. ^ "What to expect from Canada's newest airline? Fees". The Globe and Mail.

External links[edit]