A Flair B-737 MAX 8 parked at Abbotsford International Airport. Photo: Capt. Matt Di Tommaso (Flair)

At A Glance

Pilots joined ALPA: 2021

Number of pilots/flightcrew members: 330

Pilot bases: Vancouver, B.C.; Calgary and Edmonton, Alb.; and Toronto and Waterloo-Kitchener, Ont.

Hubs/key markets: Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, and Edmonton International Airport

Headquarters: Edmonton, Alb.

Operations: Flair, Canada’s first independent ultra-low-cost carrier, operates scheduled domestic passenger service to 35 Canadian and other North American destinations.

Since signing the pilots’ new three-year collective agreement at the end of 2022, the Flair Airlines Master Executive Council (MEC) has consistently been dealing with company issues. And as with other groups, pilot retention has become a constant challenge for the carrier, with the number of pilot departures surpassing the number of pilots being hired.

In October 2023, the company closed its Abbotsford, B.C., base while still maintaining its operational capability. In addition, the Ottawa, Ont., base is scheduled to close on May 1, 2024. To ensure a smooth transition and accommodate the pilots, the MEC negotiated and established port basing for the Ottawa and Montréal, Qué., bases. During winter 2023–2024, the pilots have shifted their flying to primarily serve southern destinations. Despite these changes, the MEC has retained operational continuity for the pilots.

The MEC also worked with the company in a collaboration with Australian sister carrier Bonza. The parties reached an agreement last year to send two Flair airplanes to Bonza in November, with two new aircraft coming to Flair in April 2024.

Unfortunately, Boeing’s manufacturing challenges have delayed Flair’s aircraft acquisition plans for 2024. However, the carrier expects to take delivery of 50 B-737 MAX aircraft in 2027.

Several Flair B-737 MAX 8s at Lester B. Pearson International Airport’s Terminal 3. Photo: Capt Jack Zasiewski (Flair)