New Canadian discount airline could poach Buffalo travelers

Jan 25, 2016

A new ultra low-cost airline is being launched in Canada. It will offer cheap fares for travel across Canadian destinations. But it's not good news for some airports in mid-size American cities near the border. Now, those airports have been given a temporary reprieve.

Earlier this month, with much fanfare, NewLeaf Travel announced plans to launch discount flights between seven Canadian cities for as little as $89 one-way.

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CEO Jim Young said the company would focus on second-tier airports, such as Hamilton, because of lower fees. That would take a bite out of the business that border airports such as Buffalo enjoy from their Canadian customers.

But that's now on hold, temporarily.

NewLeaf was going to launch in February, but now Young says it is postponing ticket sales pending a review of licensing regulations by the Canadian Transportation Agency.

"There's a lot of naysayers and people out there and what I'd like to call the status quo who don't necessarily want to see us in business. So, until such time as we get some leadership from the Canadian Transportation Agency, we felt it was important that our customers be protected," Young said.

The Transportation Agency is reviewing whether indirect air service providers such as New Leaf, who don't operate any aircraft but market and sell services, should be required to hold licenses.
Young says, however, when New Leaf launched, it was confirmed that it was in full compliance with licensing regulations.
NewLeaf plans to resume taking reservations in the spring.