Discount travel company NewLeaf has unexpectedly cancelled off its recently declared flights from Calgary and Edmonton to Phoenix, Ariz., after it says Westjet ripped in on its new path.
The flights were declared in November and intended to begin this month, should fly into the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, which NewLeaf representative Julie Rempel said wasn’t served by any Canadian aircraft.
“So we made that decision to go in there and within eight hours of our decision, an airline also chose to put service in to that airport as well, and also run flights basically matching the same schedule,” said Rempel, who clarified that Westjet was the competitor in question.
“So, given the volume of service and the customer base, I guess at this point, given that NewLeaf is new to the marketplace, we just couldn’t see that we’d be able to sustain it at this time.”
two days after the NewLeaf declaration, Westjet declared their flights to the Mesa airplane terminal.
Rempel would not theorize on why Westjet, which as of now offered flights to the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, chose to reflect the NewLeaf’s offerings, saying “you probably have to ask them that question.”
Westjet said by email that the Phoenix zone is an extremely competitive market.
“The airline business is more challenging than it seems and this airline appears to be blaming one airline for their woes in a particular market without providing the travelling public the full story,” wrote Westjet spokesperson Lauren Stewart.
Stewart declined to comment when asked at what point Westjet decided to start flying into Mesa and why.
Rempel said NewLeaf decided to focus on its other routes, but that it “absolutely” intends to provide flights to Phoenix in the future.
NewLeaf is giving full refunds to all clients who booked flights to Phoenix.
“It simply means that we’re here to stay, actually, because we recognize that going in we would be taking probably a loss at this point, so we want to make sure that we’re sustainable for the long term,” said Rempel.
The company strategiesto discharge another flight plan at some point this month.