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Air competition heats up

Competition is heating up for Canada's most price-sensitive travellers as WestJet Airlines gears up to launch the country's second ultra-low cost airline Wednesday.

Swoop, an offshoot of WestJet Airlines, will make its maiden flight on its pink and white aircraft before the sun rises in Hamilton, Ont. on a trip to Abbotsford, B.C.

"From my perspective coming into this fresh — I've been in Canada four months now — I personally believe there's a huge opportunity in Canada," said Swoop president Steven Greenway.

Greenway is an Australian native who has worked in executive positions at airlines including Japanese low-cost carrier Peach, Virgin Blue, Virgin Atlantic and Qantas.

Swoop marks his sixth airline startup.

By discounting travel, Swoop, Flair Airlines and others are trying to repatriate the more than five million Canadians who cross the border to catch flights from airports in Buffalo and Plattsburgh, N.Y., and Birmingham, Wash.

He expects competition will increase significantly over the next 12 months as Canada Jetlines gears up to join Swoop and Flair in offering deeply discounted fares along with charges for everything from a onboard drink to carry-on and checked baggage.



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