BUSINESS

Wow Air's Cheap Flights From Canada To Europe Could Shake Up Airfares

10/01/2015 12:06 EDT | Updated 10/02/2015 04:59 EDT

An Icelandic low-cost airline is planning to launch flights to Europe from Montreal and Toronto at prices so low they're likely to spur an airfare price war.

Wow Air has announced flights from Toronto and Montreal to Reykjavik that will cost $99, including fees, taxes but not including checked luggage. Flights to major European centres like London, Paris and Berlin, via Reykjavik, will cost $149.

In all, a return flight to Europe would cost about $300.

Flights to Reykjavik will begin from Montreal’s Trudeau Airport on May 12, 2016, and flights from Toronto’s Pearson will begin May 20, CBC reports.

Wow Air launched in 2011 and quickly joined a push by other low-cost European carriers to grab a share of the transatlantic market. The company says it has already seen success with flights to Boston and Baltimore-Washington.

But Montreal, in particular, is a special destination for the airline’s founder and CEO, Skúli Mogensen.

"I am particularly pleased to be announcing Montréal as a destination today, given that I lived in the city for nearly 10 years and that Icelanders have a definite fondness for Canadians,” he said in a statement.

But Mogensen doesn’t think North America’s airline industry will welcome Europe’s low-cost carriers with a smile, and he sees a ramping up of competition on the horizon.

“Transatlantic is really ruled by a handful of very large legacy carriers with their alliances and cartels,” he told the Globe and Mail. “They will will not give it up freely. They just don’t have the structure and strategies to allow them to compete against pure play, low-cost carriers.”