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Flair Airlines announces new base of operations in Calgary

Flair Airlines CEO Stephen Jones says the addition of its Calgary base will provide more options for travellers and more flexibility for the company. Flair Airlines CEO Stephen Jones says the addition of its Calgary base will provide more options for travellers and more flexibility for the company.
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Ultra low-cost carrier Flair Airlines announced details about its new base of operations in Calgary on Tuesday.

The company's CEO Stephen Jones attended the grand opening of the facility, which includes a maintenance facility and a hangar with three aircraft.

"As an Alberta-based company, we're proud to showcase our commitment to this region," Jones said Tuesday.

"It signifies Flair's continued growth in Canada based on our ultra low-cost, ultra low-fare business model."

Jones says the investment represents 150 jobs.

"About 40 pilots and 60 flight attendants are already based here now and we'll have approximately 40 maintenance personnel based here in the hangar," he said.

Deputy mayor and Ward 8 Coun. Courtney Walcott says the addition of the Flair base is more than just an economic statistic for Calgary.

"Calgary has become the third-most diverse city in the country and in that ranking, we have to make sure we are offering choice for that diversity," he said. "It's all about making sure there is a wide selection of opportunities available to you that you can choose how you want to live."

He says issues like the affordability crisis make decisions like access to cheaper airfares so much more important.

"It is so important to talk about jobs, it is so important to talk about the economy. But for me, the point that is always going to stick out is there is going to be a family who is going to choose to go on vacation and know there is an option here in Calgary for them."

Jones says the new base will help customers because Flair's aircraft won't need to be brought in from other bases to service passengers here. It will also expand its offerings for travellers.

"It will mean more network options, more schedule options, therefore more access to lower fares," he said, adding it also helps with potential problems.

"When the unexpected happens and a maintenance issue arises, when you've got two or three aircraft based in a city, you can cover it with some backup."

The facility will house three aircraft and a maintenance yard to service Flair's entire fleet on a regular basis.

LAWSUIT ONGOING

Flair launched in 2017 and has had its share of challenges over the years.

Four of the carrier's planes were seized in March because of overdue payments. Those seizures had a cascading affect on Flair's services, resulting in widespread cancellations and delays for passengers.

The Edmonton-headquartered company says the action was "unlawful" and launched a $50-million lawsuit against several plane-leasing companies.

Flair says it did not receive adequate notice of the seizures, so it could not alert or rebooking customers when the planes were seized "in the middle of the night."

Jones says the legal process against Flair's leasing companies is continuing.

"That lawsuit is taking its own path. In the meantime, we immediately backfilled aircraft with aircraft that we had ready for the summer. From the day afterwards, we were flying a full schedule."

The month after, he says 90 per cent of Flair's seats were sold.

None of the allegations in Flair’s lawsuit have been tested in court.

The Calgary facility is the fourth in Wester Canada and seventh base for Flair Airlines in the country.

With files from the Canadian Press

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