Canadian aviation experts say a number of reasons may be behind the lack of clarity on a relaunch. On Thursday, the Federal Court of Appeal agreed to hear an appeal by air passenger rights advocate regarding whether the CTA has the authority to permit NewLeaf to operate without a licence. At issue, according to Gabor Lukacs, is that other companies have operated under similar business models and have required licences. He doesn't expect the court to hear the appeal until at least the fall, but urged that passengers need to be cautious while the case is still under review. The court did not say whether NewLeaf would have to put off its relaunch until the hearing. The company did not respond to a request for comment late Thursday after the court's decision. An aerial view of Terminal 3 at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. (Michael Mahovlich via Getty Images) But Robert Kokonis, president at aerospace consultancy AirTrav Inc., suspects NewLeaf may be trying to beef up investment before they launch again. "The airline business is a cash-intensive business," he said. Kokonis said there is demand for discount carriers in Canada where base fares are low but any add-ons, from luggage to seat selection, are considered extras and come with accompanying fees. "(Canada) is the only major aviation market in the world that doesn't have an ultra-low cost carrier," he said, noting that a number of factors stay in the way. "We have a very high cost structure, fees, charges, and taxes that scares away ultra-low cost carriers. The successful ultra-low cost carriers of the world in the U.S., in continental Europe and Asia, thrive on a very dense geographic area to offer flights. ... Canada is very dispersed with not a huge population." Bruce Cran of the Consumers' Association of Canada said people should be wary when booking with new startups that operate under a new business models because they can be exempt from having to provide protections on baggage and cancelled flights afforded to passengers who directly book with established airlines. "They should be cautious because this is something completely new that we've never had before in Canada," he said.
"(Canada) is the only major aviation market in the world that doesn't have an ultra-low cost carrier."
— Robert Kokonis, AirTrav Inc.
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