Just two weeks shy of what was meant to be the first direct flight for Flair Airlines’ new route from Lethbridge to Tucson, Arizona, the low-budget carrier has announced it will be shelving the flights until winter 2023, as equipment needed for the larger Boeing 737s has not been secured.
Chief Commercial Officer with Flair Airlines, Garth Lund, says they’re disappointed to have to pull the plug on the much-anticipated route, however, he says the delay solely comes down to a lack of availability on crucial equipment.
“Not a demand issue, we do want to operate this service, it came down to the infrastructure and equipment needed to service the flight. In particular, being able to enplane and disembark the passengers, we need a boarding ramp per our procedures, to allow passengers to board the aircraft… and that’s not in place at this point.”
Lund says the ramp is quite a particular piece of equipment, which is typically used where you don’t have a jet bridge at airports. He adds while he understands the disappointment of those who may have booked a trip on the route, they’re hopeful the problem will be short-lived.
“There is a limited supply of those available, and although the airport and industry partners have been scouring Canada to source this equipment, it is in short supply and was not able to be in place in Lethbridge in time for the launch of the service.”
Passengers who had already booked their flights on the Lethbridge-Tucson route will be offered refunds. Lund says they’re hoping to begin the sale of flights for the route starting in early 2023.