New airline to land in Fort St. John

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – New discount airline NewLeaf will fly out of Fort St. John to two destinations, Abbotsford and Edmonton.

Travellers can purchase tickets starting Thursday from the Winnipeg-based startup, with the first flight scheduled for take off on July 25.

The company has also added five more destinations to its service, which now include Halifax, Moncton, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Kelowna, B.C., Kamloops, B.C., Fort St. John, B.C., Abbotsford, B.C. and Victoria.

The airline will operate flights twice a week out of Fort St. John on Thursdays and Sundays to Abbotsford and Edmonton.

When it originally launched in January, NewLeaf billed itself as an alternative to airline juggernauts like Air Canada and WestJet by offering bargain-priced “no frills” flights. It advertises flights for as low at $79 one-way including all taxes and fees.

But just a week after the company started selling tickets, it hit some turbulence over whether it needed a licence to operate. NewLeaf contended that it did not require a licence because it does not operate airplanes and only resells seats from Kelowna, B.C.-based Flair Airlines.

In late March, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) ruled in favour of NewLeaf and cleared the runway for the company to resume ticket sales.