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Canadian airline Lynx Air closes down

A Canadian budget airline is shutting down over the weekend, blaming rising costs, unfavourable exchange rates and “competitive tension” for its demise.

Lynx Air, based in Calgary, told passengers: “Lynx Air will cease flight operations as of 12:01 am Mountain Time on Monday 26 February.” All forward bookings beyond that time are cancelled, with passengers told to claim refunds from their credit-card companies.

The low-cost carrier was a rebranding of an airline named Enerjet, which had been set up in 2006. Its first scheduled flights as Lynx Air began in April 2022, with Boeing 737 Max aircraft serving destinations in Canada, the US and Mexico.

In its closing statement, the airline said: “It is with a heavy heart we leave the skies. We hope in our absence that our vision to Inspire More Canadians to Fly leaves its mark on our passengers.

“Tremendous work was put into the growth and expansion of Lynx Air over the past two years, offering Canadians a low-cost, seamless travel experience.

“However, the compounding financial pressures associated with inflation, fuel costs, exchange rates, cost of capital, regulatory costs and competitive tension in the Canadian market have ultimately proven too steep a mountain for our organisation to overcome.”

Rivalry in Canadian aviation is intense, with two large airlines: long-established Air Canada and WestJet, founded in Calgary 30 years ago.

Investors in Lynx Air included Indigo Partners, a private equity fund that also has interests in Wizz Air as well as Frontier Airlines of the US and Volaris of Mexico.

Lynx Air said it aims to operate most of its flights over the weekend to “bring as many of our travellers home as possible”.

Research by The Independent of flights from the main base, Calgary, shows cancellations on Friday to and from Las Vegas, Phoenix and Victoria BC.

Passengers due to travel from Monday onwards are also told they can switch to earlier flights if seats are available. Otherwise, says the airline: “You can contact your credit card company and they will refund your flight.”

Vouchers for travel on Lynx Air are now worthless.

Canada’s transport minister, Pablo Rodriguez, posted a statement on X (formerly Twitter) saying: “I’m thinking of the Canadian travellers and workers affected by this news, their families, and the communities across Canada who will feel the impact of this.

“For any travellers that had a return flight booked with Lynx, I expect Lynx to help you get back home as soon as possible. I expect Lynx to fully refund you if your fare won’t be honoured.

“My office has been in touch with Lynx, we will continue to communicate with all parties, and we’ve convened calls with other airlines to see how they can help, to ensure that passengers are put first.”

The Lynx Air statement on its closure concluded: “Our passengers were a big part of our purpose and drive to build our airline. Offering low fares to inspire Canadians to fly more and to spend more enjoying time with loved ones in beloved destinations was a great privilege.

“Thank you for supporting us in our journey, we are as disappointed as you are. We are thankful for the loyalty of our passengers who valued our ultra low-cost carrier model. We know this is a shock to many and our goal is to make the wind down of our operations as seamless as possible. It has been a privilege to serve you.”

For more travel news, views and advice from Simon, download his daily Independent Travel podcast.

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