WestJet announced Wednesday Swoop, the ULCC will begin selling flights in early 2018.

Comox Airport readies itself for WestJet’s new low-cost carrier

With WestJet’s announcement Wednesday morning of their new ultra-low cost carrier Swoop, Comox Airport’s CEO says there is room for the business model across the country and on Vancouver Island.

Fred Bigelow explains he has been following the development of ULCCs for quite some time while in constant communication with the major airlines.

“What we know about ULCCs, is that they look towards lower cost airports because they want to keep their costs down. They look to places like us because Comox is very attractive and inexpensive compared to major airports whose costs are much higher.”

WestJet noted Swoop will begin selling flights in early 2018, and will provide Canadians with a no-frills, lower-fare travel option. The company has chosen Calgary as the location of its headquarters, the same location as WestJet’s corporate head office.

According to the Swoop website, the base price simply includes just a seat, and the airline is creating a “la carte service that puts you, the traveler, in the driver seat. You can add a snack, checked baggage or in-flight entertainment at an additional cost.”

The concept of ULCCs has taken off in the U.S. and in Europe, and unlike major carriers, many low-cost carries develop bases to maximize destination coverage. Many do not operate traditional hubs but often fly to smaller, less congested secondary airports.

To make the ULCC model work, WestJet notes they have standardized plane sizes, seating configurations and flight patterns, and “kept the bells and whistles at airports to a minimum.”

“There is room for this business model (in Canada) … because they try to attract flyers that just aren’t flying. Now the guy who wants to fly home to see his parents at Thanksgiving who couldn’t afford it before can now fly,” explains Bigelow.

While there was no announcement about routes or flight schedules, Bigelow notes people will drive to an airport from afar if the price is right for flight.

“A good fare, a non-stop flight to a nice destination will draw people from far and wide. (U.S. low-cost) Allegiant Air uses a four-hour timeline for driving distance for people to go to an airport (with a ULCC). People will drive a long way for cheap fares.”

He adds right now he will monitor WestJet along with their subsidiary of WestJet Encore to see the separation of the regional airline and various discussions with airports across the country.

“Comox remains pretty darn attractive to airlines … we will certainly be in a position to provide who are passengers are and the data that is key to a new route. We’re still waiting to see – it’s a new company, a different brand, different business model. Although it’s co-located (with WestJet), it remains to be seen the management oversight (between the two).”

Just Posted

Minor Earthquake strikes near Port Hardy

M 4.7 182km SW of Port Hardy

Vancouver Island Firefighters Association Fall Training Seminar

Port Hardy Fire Rescue hosted the Vancouver Island Firefighters Association Fall Training Seminar.

‘Sisters of Song’ choir brings joy to Port Alice singers

“Music is an extreme source of joy for a lot of people.”

Curling Club renovations – “if you take the roof off, you have to fix it” says Mayor

McCarrick said the districts only other option was “to take the building down.”

North Island schools struggling with lack of TTOCs

“We literally have days where positions are not being filled.”

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe resigns

After 37 years Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has resigned for smoother transfer of power

Nearly half of recent immigrant kids in B.C. live in poverty

A report issued Tuesday indicates immigrants children make up a large percentage of B.C.’s impoverished

LGBTQ advocates want military, RCMP to take part in apology

“These are all the organizations that perpetrated past discrimination against the LGBTQ community.”

Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman

An auditor has found that Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman, when they can get through

B.C. mining company stakes claim in Australia

Copper Mountain is set to purchase Cloncurry Copper Project in a $93-million deal.

Capitals crunch Sparta in home opener

The game was a hard-hitting affair right from the drop of the puck.

Wet weather expected for much of coastal B.C.

The Weather Network is calling for up to 200mm of rain to fall in some areas of the South Coast and Vancouver Island

INTERACTIVE MAP: Follow the 2017 Tour de Rock

Follow the Tour de Rock, as they pedal more than 1,000 kilometres fundraising to combat paediatric cancer

Most Read