Low-cost direct flights to four new Canadian markets will soon be available for commuters flying out of the Kelowna International Airport.
NewLeaf, billed as “Canada’s newest, ultra-low-cost travel company” will officially announce new direct flights out of Kelowna as well as its route map, pricing and booking details on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the Kelowna International Airport.
The new routes include direct flights from Kelowna to Hamilton, Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg, markets not currently available direct from Kelowna.
According to NewLeaf, the new air service “plans to revolutionize the Canadian travel market” with what they call ultra-low-fares. Introductory one-way fares from Kelowna to Saskatoon and Regina are $89 while Kelowna to Winnipeg is $99 and between Kelowna and Hamilton is $149.
“It’s a new year and we are happy to say 2016 is the year we officially bring affordable travel back to Canada,” said Jim Young, president and CEO of the NewLeaf Travel Company.
Initial departures will begin Feb. 12 and customers can now book flights on the company’s web site www.flynewleaf.ca.
The arrival of NewLeaf in Kelowna has been some time coming.
Last January five B.C. ski resorts including Big White, Silver Star and Sun Peaks partnered with NewLeaf to provide a one-time charter flight at spring break from Hamilton to Kelowna. The seats easily sold out and at the time, Michael J. Ballingall of Big White said it was imperative for tourism in the Okanagan to be able to provide cheaper flights from other parts of Canada.
“This bodes for well for skiing and we think it will bodes well for other tourism industries like golf and wine,” Ballingall said at the time. “Once this clears the way and we show the airplane is easy to book, it opens up a whole new market for us. There a lot of people that can easily access Hamilton that would think twice about driving all the way to Toronto. It’s an untapped market.”
According to the company the low rates will be achieved through cost-saving measures including their focus on smaller airports as well as a simpler point-to-point network. Customers will be able to customize their travel by purchasing priority boarding, on-board drinks, snacks, carry-on and checked baggage.
“Most of our main routes feature non-stop flights that aren’t currently offered,” said Young. “The ultra-low-cost business model we are using has proven successful around the world and we’re excited to bring it to Canada.”