The highly anticipated debut of U.S. service has turned into a big “oops” for Canadian budget airline Swoop.
Swoop had planned to begin flying to the United States this month, a move that would have made it the first Canadian “ultra low-cost carrier” to begin flying to destinations here.
But now at least two dozen of Swoop’s first U.S.-Canada flights have been canceled because regulatory approvals have taken longer than expected.
“We apologize to our travelers affected by the cancellations for the inconvenience and for their disappointment,” Swoop spokesperson Karen McIsaac said to Canada’s CBC News. “We are focused on doing what is right and are working directly with those affected travelers to provide options including rebooking on an alternate flight or providing full refunds and compensation.”
Swoop’s U.S. flights had been set to begin Oct. 11, with service between Las Vegas and Edmonton. Six more U.S.-Canada routes had been planned by the end of October, flights that were to operate from various Canadian airports to Fort Lauderdale; Orlando; Phoenix/Mesa, Arizona; and Tampa.
It’s common practice in the airline industry – including among U.S. carriers – to unveil new international routes for which government approvals still need to be secured. It’s rare, however, for the approvals not to come through in time for the scheduled flights. It was not immediately clear what led to the delay at Swoop.
Still, it could have been worse.
There were actually 56 Swoop flights affected by the regulatory gaffe, according to TravelPulse Canada. But Swoop was able to move passengers from 32 of those flights to planes operated by parent company WestJet.
Swoop is a wholly owned subsidiary of WestJet, a low-cost carrier that’s grown during the past two decades to become Canada’s second-biggest airline. Swoop began flying in June 2018, offering service on several domestic routes in Canada. The U.S. flights that were to begin this month were to be the unit’s first outside Canada.
Despite the link, Swoop and WestJet operate as separate stand-alone brands.
For now, all Swoop-operated flights have been postponed until Oct. 27, a date that Swoop says will allow it up to pick up its entire planned schedule.
Hinting at how WestJet was able to step in for some of Swoop’s flights, four of Swoop’s new routes had been existing WestJet routes that were scheduled to be switched over to Swoop’s bare-bones, no-frills service.
The routes switching from WestJet to Swoop are Edmonton-Las Vegas; Hamilton, Ontario-Las Vegas; Hamilton-Orlando and Edmonton-Phoenix/Mesa.
Swoop’s three other planned U.S.-Canada routes are: Las Vegas-Abbotsford, British Columbia; Fort Lauderdale-Hamilton and Tampa-Hamilton.
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