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New 'ultra-affordable' Canadian airline Lynx Air launches out of Calgary

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CALGARY -

The president and CEO of Canada's newest airline says it's going to make air travel more accessible for Canadians. 

Merren McArthur announced the launch of Lynx Air on Tuesday morning, Canada's newest ultra-affordable airline. 

McArthur says the airline, based out of Calgary, will debut with low fares, a fleet of brand-new Boeing 737 aircraft and great customer service.

McArthur, who served as the CEO of ultra low-cost carrier Tigerair Australia, said Lynx will adopt an ultra low-cost carrier model, which has revolutionized air travel across Europe and the United States, offering low fares, flexibility and choice.

"The model is about simplicity, efficiency and empowering customers to pay for what they want and nothing more," McArthur said.

"Air fares have traditionally been high here in Canada, and we at Lynx believe there are Canadians who can't afford to travel or can't afford to travel as often as they would like.

"Our à la carte pricing allows customers to pick only the services they want to pay for, so they can save on the journey and spend at the end, at the destination – where it counts."

The airline is named after the Canada Lynx, which McArthur said is "uniquely Canadian."  

"It's courageous, it's efficient, it's adaptable and it travels vast distances across this continent.

"We also love the little play on words, because we plan to be an airline that 'links' Canadians to people and places."

Lynx will start out with a fleet of three of Boeing's newest 737s that are set to arrive in Calgary in 2022.

The airline said it has "firm orders and lease agreements" in place for a total of 46 aircraft over the next seven years to meet anticipated demand.

“Boeing’s newest 737 aircraft enables the lowest cost operation of any aircraft in its market segment, making it a great fit for Lynx Air’s ultra low-cost business model,” said Brad McMullen, senior vice president of sales, North America, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a news release.

“Passengers can feel confident in Lynx Air’s choice of modern fleet, knowing this latest generation of aircraft are designed to offer the greatest flexibility, reliability and efficiency in the single-aisle market.”

"We don't believe that low fares mean low value."

McArthur says all Lynx team members will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the airline will have "strict COVID-19 protocols in place" to ensure patrons feel safe.

Lynx Air has not yet announced routes and schedules, but said it plans to "soon."

"Initially we'll be flying domestic short-haul and long-haul flights," McArthur said. "As we evolve, we'll expand our transport into the United States and ultimately internationally."

Lynx Air will start booking flights in the next few weeks, with the first flights taking off later this year.

Bob Sartor, Calgary Airport Authority president and CEO, said the announcement was "very symbolic." 

"People are learning to fly through this pandemic. They understand that they have to get vaccinated, that they have to mask, and that they have to be good individual citizens – respecting the rights of others – to be safe.

"That's why aviation is growing again."

'THIS ANNOUNCEMENT IS A BIG ONE FOR OUR CITY': JYOTI GONDEK 

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said Tuesday's announcement is a "big one" for the city and could not come at a better time. 

"It means new and diverse jobs, it means greater inter-regional movements, it means a boost to our tourism industry, it means more opportunities and greater access for Calgarians who travel for business and pleasure." 

Gondek said the birth of Lynx Air is another beacon of light for Calgary's economic recovery. 

"We are returning to being a source of stability for business, a focused convener of opportunities and a mindful community builder." 

The mayor added that she looks forward to the growth of the airline. 

"Calgary's aviation and travel industry has been through much over the past two years," Gondek said. "This was the sector hit the hardest by restrictions placed upon it due to the pandemic. With flights grounded to limit the spread of the virus, air travel was driven to a near-halt." 

"Now, as we slowly emerge from what we hope is the worst of the pandemic, we have many reasons for optimism and high hopes for recovery of this important industry.

"Alberta's history with aviation is long and filled with many successes," Gondek added. "I'm particularly pleased that Calgary's newest aviation success story has a woman at the helm. 

"In an industry that is dominated by men in leadership positions, Calgary will be home to Merren McArthur as CEO of Lynx Air. Ms. McArthur is well known in the field and brings with her international experience that is hard to match."

TOURISM CALGARY CALLS ANNOUNCEMENT A 'FANTASTIC MOMENT' 

Tourism Calgary CEO Cindy Ady said the fact that Lynx Air has the confidence to bring the airline to Calgary is a "fantastic moment." 

Speaking at the Tuesday news conference where the airline was announced, Ady said she thinks Lynx will help restore the travel industry. 

"This is a good moment," she added.

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