(Photo courtesy Flair Airlines)

Flair Airlines halts new routes to Florida, California

Budget carrier stops service from Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto to Miami, Tampa Bay and more

Flair Airlines has suspended several flight routes to Florida and California just months after expanding service to U.S. destinations.

Citing “disappointing load factors,” the ultra-low-cost carrier that was based in Kelowna before moving to Edmonton, called an abrupt halt to service from Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto to destinations including Miami, Tampa Bay and Palm Springs.

READ MORE: Low-cost carrier Jetlines announced for Kelowna’s airport

The suspensions are effective this Thursday and come barely two months after the airline announced the new routes in a cutthroat North American market.

Flair faces domestic competition from budget rival Swoop — owned by WestJet Airlines Ltd. — and Air Canada but competes with Air Transat for sun destinations in the U.S.

Flair chief executive Jim Scott said in December that predatory pricing and scheduling by WestJet cost his budget carrier $10 million over four months and placed it in jeopardy as a “David and Goliath” battle culminated in an investigation by Canada’s competition watchdog.

On Dec. 11, the Federal Court of Canada’s chief justice ordered a WestJet vice-president to appear before the Competition Bureau to explain the airline’s tactics.

Flair says it is in the process of contacting all affected passengers and providing them with full refunds or alternative travel arrangements.

The Canadian Press

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