Canada Jetlines announced today that they plan to launch ultra-low fare services next year with Hamilton chosen as the Eastern focus city. Flights will take off from both John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport as well as the Region of Waterloo International Airport, when it begins flight operations in Summer 2018.
The service is being planned to start in June 2018 with flights emanating from Hamilton and Waterloo bound for Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Halifax. By next Spring there would also be destinations added including Montréal, Las Vegas, multiple destinations in Florida, and Cancun
“The high demand for lower airfares in the Toronto Metropolitan Area has led to the decision to base our flying in this region,” stated Stan Gadek, CEO of Jetlines in the announcment. “As a result, we are pleased to announce that we have entered into an agreement with the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport and are in active discussions with Region of Waterloo International Airport. The combined service area for these airports includes nearly four million people. This factored significantly in our decision to serve both airports.”
In an effort to keep fares low Jetlines plans to fly point-to-point across Canada and non-stop from Canada to the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean from more than 30 secondary airports. These airports are not only cheaper to use, but also more accessible for many travelers.
“As Hamilton International continues to grow as a low-cost airport in the Toronto Metropolitan Area, the Airport is pleased that Jetlines has chosen Hamilton as its Eastern focus city providing further low-cost travel options for Hamilton and the region,” said President & CEO for John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, Vijay Bathija.
Flights from this past summer were forecast to increase by almost 50% year over year with 150 flights per week.
But with five current airlines in service at the Hamilton Airport, and a Canada Jetlines set to start in 2018, there still isn’t a regular transit option to the city’s airport.
The HSR has been running the 20 A-LINE EXPRESS bus service between the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport and downtown Hamilton since 2009, but that service has been limited to rush hour service only. The funding and direction from City Council also limits the service to only run thru the week with no service on weekends.
Back in 2014 the transit division of Public Works proposed extending the 20 A-LINE EXPRESS service to Pier 8 and had an alternative to extend service on the route to the airport all day, seven days a week. The extension to Pier 8 was approved however the proposal to increase service to the Airport was never adopted.
Even without new flights being added via Canada Jetlines, there isn’t sufficient transit service for the flights arriving in Hamilton today. There are four inbound flights to the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport late tonight, September 11th which will arrive at the airport after the last bus leaves for the evening.
The last bus shuts its doors and drives away from the airport at 7:30pm. And while there is a TransCab option to connect airline passengers to buses at the Mountain Transit Centre, that service also ends at 7:00pm making public transit a non-option for visitors to the city coming in by plane.
There is also no HSR bus service or TransCab operating on Sundays to connect passengers to any incoming or outgoing flights.
There is better transit service between Hamilton and Pearson International Airport in Toronto provided by GO Transit.
With the 10-year transit plan put on hold earlier in the year, council will need to take a look at the increase in passenger airline traffic at the city’s airport and readdress the transit needs to our airport.