NewLeaf Launches with 10 New Routes in British Columbia

NewLeaf Travel, the Winnipeg-based discount travel company, began operating ten new routes from four smaller British Columbia airports late last month. The new Canadian ultra low-cost carrier is now flying from Victoria, Abbotsford, Kelowna, and Kamloops. 

Image Source: NewLeaf
Officially, NewLeaf is a ticket re-seller, offering seats on chartered flights operated primarily by Kelowna-based Flair Air utilising a fleet of five Boeing 737-400 aircraft, which it owns and operates. The average age of each aircraft is 25.5 years old. NewLeaf launched flights on July 25 to twelve Canadian cities. 

In British Columbia, NewLeaf operates the following routes:
  • Kelowna to Saskatoon
  • Kelowna to Regina
  • Kelowna to Winnipeg
  • Kelowna to Hamilton via Winnipeg or Saskatoon
  • Kamloops to Edmonton
  • Victoria to Kamloops
  • Victoria to Winnipeg
  • Victoria to Edmonton via Kamloops
  • Abbotsford to Edmonton
  • Abbotsford to Winnipeg
New Leaf is specifically targeting smaller airports, where landing fees are lower and routes are under served by the larger airlines. Of the new routes launched in British Columbia, NewLeaf only has competition on flights from Abbotsford to Edmonton, where WestJet Airlines competes on the route. Because the company's business model is based on flying from smaller airports, it is unlikely that there will be any service to Vancouver International Airport in the immediate future. 

Image Source: NewLeaf
Flights are advertised for as low as $79 one way, including all taxes and fees. However, expect to pay extra for checked baggage, food, and entertainment. Unlike other Canadian carriers, NewLeaf also charges for carry-on luggage. As NewLeaf CEO Jim Young states, the price of your ticket includes only "the seat and the seatbelt." Small personal bags such as purses are free. However, larger carry-on bags can cost between $31 to $34 when purchased online. If checked at the gate, carry-on bags will cost $84 to $92 each -- more than the cost of the flight.

NewLeaf does not fly to its destinations on a daily basis. Most routes are served only two or three times each week. However, the company is open to increasing frequency if demand permits. Currently, the only route in BC being served three times weekly is between Kelowna and Winnipeg.

The company's operations are primarily focused out of Hamilton, Winnipeg, and Kelowna. However, most of the airports in the NewLeaf network are located in British Columbia. The majority of flights are operated on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays. 

NewLeaf was originally scheduled to operate flights to Fort St. John, British Columbia. But the company cancelled the flights two weeks prior to the launch of the first flight in favour of operating direct flights from Abbotsford to Edmonton. Originally, flights between the two cities were to route via Fort St. John. It remains unclear if NewLeaf will introduce service to the Northern British Columbia city at a future date. However, NewLeaf plans to expand rapidly introducing flights to the United States and sun destinations.

Meanwhile, NewLeaf has partnered with Calgary company, Jump On Flyaways, to offer Canadian travellers an opportunity to bid on unsold seats. The company collects bids from prospective passengers and presents them to NewLeaf, which the airline has the option to accept or reject.

"Our bidding platform was developed to allow 'Jumpers,' or flexible travellers, to bid on potentially unsold airline seats," said Roger Jewett, CEO of Jump on Flyaway. "We receive bids during the flight booking period and present them to NewLeaf, who may accept high bids at their discretion."

NewLeaf has the ability to accept bids up to 48 hours prior to the flight. Once the bid is accepted, the passenger's credit card is charged and the ticket is sent two days prior to departure.


Darryl Wilson

I am an avid traveller, freelance writer, and hospitality management professional. I enjoy helping people see the world through travel by sharing my own experiences and knowledge. British Columbia is an amazing place that is just waiting to be explored. #ExploreBC

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