BUSINESS
03/12/2018 17:09 EDT | Updated 03/12/2018 17:13 EDT

Low-Cost Carriers Push Into Canada, Promising Cheaper Flights To Europe

With so much new competition, we might actually see air fares fall in this country.

Parked Boeing 737-800 aircraft belonging to budget carrier Norwegian Air at Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden, on March 6, 2015. Norwegian Air plans to launch flights between Canada and Europe this summer.
TT News Agency / Reuters
Parked Boeing 737-800 aircraft belonging to budget carrier Norwegian Air at Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden, on March 6, 2015. Norwegian Air plans to launch flights between Canada and Europe this summer.

The skies over Canada promise to get a little more crowded as a growing number of low-cost airlines push into the market.

The latest is Norwegian Air, which says it plans to start flying between Canada and Europe next summer, in a move that could mean lower transatlantic air fares.

According to documents from the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), Norwegian plans to start flying between Canada and Europe on July 23, 2018.

Watch: Here are the budget airlines in Canada

The CTA has given the airline approval to start selling tickets in advance, but the airline still needs a permit from Transport Canada to begin operating in the country. The CTA says there is a "high probability" Norwegian will get the permit.

The airline told the Globe and Mail it will not reveal what cities it will serve between Canada and Europe until it has received its Transport Canada permit.

But CEO Bjorn Kjos told the Irish Independent that the airline may begin running flights between Toronto and Europe using its new Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

Other airlines also on the way

Norwegian Air International is based in Dublin, Ireland, and is a subsidiary of Norway-based Norwegian Air Shuttle, the third-largest low-cost carrier in Europe and the largest airline in Scandinavia.

Norwegian launched flights from Europe to the U.S. last year with attention-grabbing low-price promotions.

And the airline is by no means the only low-cost carrier muscling in on the Canada-Europe air travel market these days.

Iceland-based Wow Air launched service between Europe and Toronto and Montreal in 2016, with promotional prices as low as $99 per flight.

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More recently, Latvia-based Primera Air announced plans to offer service between Toronto and Stansted Airport near London. That service is scheduled to begin on May 19.

Additionally, Spain-based low-cost carrier Level will begin operating flights between Montreal and Paris Orly Airport as of July of this year, the airline says.

The increased competition will mean air fares will fall, said Robert Kokonis, president of air industry consultancy AirTrav Inc.

But Kokonis cast doubt on whether this many airlines will be able to make a go of it in Canada's transatlantic market.

"I don't think there's going to be enough demand for all three of our national carriers – including Transat – plus Icelandair, plus Wow Air, plus Primera Air, plus Norwegian," Kokonis told the Globe and Mail.

"Something's going to have to give."

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