Flair Airlines is Canadian, says government agency

After a months-long review process, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has issued its final decision in a contentious case that could have cost Flair Airlines its license.

The Edmonton-based discount carrier was under scrutiny over concerns that a U.S. shareholder, Miami-based 777 Partners, was wielding too much power.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, June 1, the Canadian Transportation Agency said it had found Flair Airlines to be Canadian based on numerous factors, including changes to Flair’s board arrangements.

At a news conference following the ruling on Wednesday, Flair Airlines CEO Stephen Jones said the company had gone through the CTA’s concerns “line by line” and addressed them all.

“We’ve made significant concessions ourselves, along with 777 partners, and changed things around to make sure the position is without question, we’re a Canadian airline,” Jones said.

THE WATERLOO REGIONAL PRESIDENT SATISFIED WITH THE DECISION

The decision has major implications for the Region of Waterloo International Airport.

Flair said he was proud of his partnership with the airport and had been instrumental in the growth of the facility.

“They sat there for 15 years with one flight a day to the airport,” Jone said. “Flair has arrived and we now have 15 destinations from YKF.”

Waterloo Region President Karen Redman described the growth as “exponential.”

“I think it’s 295% since 2019. It bodes really well for us going forward,” she said.

Redman said she was thrilled to learn of the CTA’s decision on Wednesday.

“We’re really excited that this isn’t disrupting service and we’re always happy to work with any partner,” Redman said.

Meanwhile, an air passenger rights advocate said the impact on consumers would be minimal.

“They were focusing on something marginal that, from a consumer perspective, makes very little or no difference,” Gábor Lukács said.

Jones said questions surrounding whether Flair is Canadian have created unnecessary uncertainty for consumers.

“This uncertainty, which has been played on I think dishonestly by many other competitors, has created this uncertainty in the minds of consumers,” Jones said. “It can be taken away.”