Canada’s Lynx Air has confirmed it will launch next year, initially flying a fleet of three Boeing 737 MAXs from its Calgary base. Lynx will become the latest addition to Canada’s burgeoning low-cost airline scene.
Canada’s newest airline has 46 MAXs on order
Lynx Air was formerly known as Enerjet, a Calgary-based charter airline that specialized in flying oil sand workers to job sites in Alberta. It used to operate a Boeing 737-700 but more recently downsized to a de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter.
As Enerjet rebrands, the 737 MAXs are quite the upgrade. On Tuesday, Lynx’s new CEO and President, Merren McArthur, said Lynx had firm orders and lease agreements in place for a total of 46 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft over the next seven years to meet anticipated demand. Ms McArthur said the first three jets would land in Calgary next year.
“Boeing’s newest 737 aircraft enables the lowest cost operation of any aircraft in its market segment, making it a great fit for Lynx Air’s ultra-low-cost business model,” said Brad McMullen, Senior Vice President of Sales, North America, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“Passengers can feel confident in Lynx Air’s choice of modern fleet, knowing this latest generation of aircraft are designed to offer the greatest flexibility, reliability and efficiency in the single-aisle market.”
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A well-known aviation name re-emerges in Canada
Lynx is privately owned. They say they have the financial backing and industry expertise required to transform the Canadian aviation landscape. The new CEO, Merren McArthur, may be a familiar name to some readers.
“We are excited to bring competition and choice to the Canadian aviation market,” said Ms McArthur. Ms McArthur is an Aussie girl made good. She landed in the aviation industry in 2008, working first at Perth-based Skywest before that airline was absorbed by Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA).
Ms McArthur went on to become CEO of VARA as well as taking on the top job at Virgin Australia Cargo. In 2018, Ms McArthur took on the CEO role at Virgin’s low-cost subsidiary Tigerair Australia. It was a relatively short-lived role. She finished there a year later. Now Merren McArthur has popped up in Canada, helming its newest airline.
“Airfares have traditionally been high here in Canada, and we at Lynx believe in meeting Canadians’ needs who can’t afford to travel or can’t afford to travel as often as they’d like,” said Ms McArthur.
Other senior management figures at Lynx include Chief Commercial Officer Vijay Bathija, most recently at Etihad Airways. Enerjet, WestJet and Morgan Air alumni Tim Morgan is the new Chief Operations Officer. Sports and entertainment industry veteran Michael Holditch will take on the Chief Financial Officer role.
Tuesday’s presser a little light on details
Following the well-worn trail of many a low-cost startup airline, Ms McArthur said in a press conference on Tuesday Lynx was not trying to eat into the markets of existing airlines. Instead, Lynx wanted to carve out new markets for itself.
“We’re not really trying to steal markets from any other carrier,” said Ms McArthur. “We’re really trying to grow the market so we can inspire more people to travel.”
At this point, Lynx isn’t giving much away about start dates or routes. They aren’t even referring to their planes as MAXs, instead coyly referring to Boeing’s “newest 737 aircraft.” All Ms McArthur would confirm was a Canadian domestic focus, an ultra-low-cost operating model and an eye on low fares, flexibility and choice.
Merren McArthur added Canadians could expect announcements on schedules and routes soon.