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Canadian travellers could be absolutely screwed as Flair Airlines faces forcible shutdown

Flair Airlines, one of Canada's most popular airlines and perhaps our top ultra-low-cost carrier, is currently the midst of some major drama that could mean a complete suspension of the carrier's operations here.

The Canadian Transportation Agency has been investigating Edmonton-based Flair since the end of 2021 due to the brand's ownership, which may not exactly meet federal regulations due to the role of American investor 777 Partners, which also owns Flair's fleet.

The preliminary decision from the overseeing agency? That the airline "may not be controlled in fact by Canadians," Global News reported today in a summary of the redacted ruling, which it recently obtained.

Though non-Canadian ownership of the brand is within the parameters permitted under the Canada Transportation Act (it has to be less than half — Flair's is at 49 per cent), the agency feels that 777 Partners has a concerning amount of sway in overall decision-making, which may not be in line with Canadian standards.

This is largely due to the fact that the investor's presence dominates the carrier's board of directors, and also that Flair leases its fleet from 777, making it in many ways too dependent upon the Miami firm.

The airline has until May 2 (60 days from March 3) to respond to the review and address the concerns outlined in it, or else its Canadian operating license could be revoked and its flights grounded for the foreseeable future.

Anyone who has a forthcoming flight with Flair, of course, would have to make alternative plans if this happens.

As of Tuesday, the CTA had yet to receive a response from the carrier, though Flair CEO Stephen Jones told Global his team is cooperating with the agency to resolve the issues and the company has also asked for a special exemption to take 18 months to properly adhere to the rules.

With air travel already being stressful as hell amid COVID-19, passengers are understandably up in arms over the situation and lack of further information from the carrier, which actually celebrated the introduction of two new flight routes today.

Lead photo by

Flair Airlines

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