Flair Airlines Says Four Of Its Aircraft Seized in A ‘Commercial Dispute’

photo: globalnews.ca

Passengers who were travelling with Flair Airlines on Saturday experienced disruptions when four leased aircraft were seized in Toronto, Edmonton, and Waterloo, Ontario. Flair Airlines referred to this seizure as a "commercial dispute" and identified the party responsible as a hedge fund based in New York.

Flair Airlines stated that the seizure was an extreme and unusual move, and that it would use additional fleet capacity to mitigate the impact on passengers. The company also assured customers that it did not anticipate any major disruptions to its route map.

According to Mike Arnot, a spokesperson for the company, several Flair flights were cancelled on Saturday morning. However, the company was able to backfill those flights with three spare aircraft.

According to Arnot, passengers who are scheduled to travel within the next 72 hours will either be accommodated on a Flair flight or on another airline at Flair's expense if a Flair flight is not available.

Later on Saturday, the company provided an update stating that affected customers can also rebook their travel on their own and receive reimbursement within seven days.

An individual familiar with the matter, who was not authorized to speak publicly, revealed that the payments for the seized planes were only a few days overdue and that the amount owed was small compared to Flair's overall revenue.

"We sincerely apologize for the disruption caused to passengers today and are taking necessary measures to ensure they can continue their travel with minimal inconvenience. This includes relocating our spare aircraft to support our operations," the company's statement read.

photo: www.traveloffpath.com

Airborne Capital, the leasing company responsible for the seizure of Flair's aircraft, did not respond immediately to an email seeking comment, as confirmed by Arnot.

Flair Airlines stated that it has been communicating with the leasing company regularly and that payment has already been initiated. The airline also mentioned that it intends to engage in consensual mediation with the lessor to resolve the situation.

The disruption occurred during the onset of the spring break, which is anticipated to bring a surge of passengers to airports and airlines, particularly in Ontario.

Flair Airlines started operating in 2004 as a charter airline and began offering regularly scheduled services in 2018.

Last September, the low-cost airline based in Edmonton announced its plans to become Canada's third-largest domestic airline by this summer and increase its fleet size to 30 aircraft, serving 70 routes, by the end of 2023.

However, the airline has encountered various obstacles, such as a prolonged dispute last year over whether its association with a Miami-based investor violated regulations that restrict foreign entities to owning no more than 49% of a Canadian airline.

The conflict was resolved when the Canadian Transportation Agency ruled that the airline was indeed Canadian and could retain its license, following Flair's efforts to restructure its board to guarantee that at least half of the directors are Canadian and to terminate any unique shareholder privileges granted to the investor.

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