A new lost-cost airline that had postponed its plans to fly out of Abbotsford Airport has now been cleared for takeoff by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA).
NewLeaf Travel Company stated that the CTA has completed its review of licensing regulations and the company is not required to hold an air licence.
The CTA review looked at whether people who do not operate any aircraft, but market and sell services to the public, should be required to hold agency licences.
NewLeaf announced in early January that it would offer direct flights from Abbotsford to Winnipeg and Saskatoon beginning in February, with one-way fares starting at $89.
Less than two weeks later, the company reported it was postponing those plans due to some ambiguity about licensing.
Under a charter agreement with Kelowna-based Flair Airlines Ltd., Flair held the CTA operating licence while NewLeaf offered seat sales.
NewLeaf had previously been given an exemption from holding a licence directly while the CTA reviewed its legislation, but details became less clear about whether the company needed to amend its relationship with Flair, and the start-up was delayed.
Those who had already made flight reservations were guaranteed the opportunity to re-buy their seat for the price they paid for it once sales resume.
NewLeaf said it will resume booking in the “near future,” but hasn’t yet given an exact date.
Two weekly flights are planned to Saskatoon and one to Winnipeg from Abbotsford on a Boeing 737-400 plane with 156 seats. All flights will connect to Hamilton, Ont.
NewLeaf will be offering flights from a total of seven Canadian airports – Abbotsford,
Halifax, Hamilton, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.