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A Flair Airlines 737 MAX 8 jetliner takes off from Vancouver International Airport, Richmond, B.C., on Oct. 28, 2022.Bayne Stanley/The Canadian Press

Flair Airlines will make unspecified changes to its summer schedule after four of its planes were seized last week for non-payment of rent, chief executive officer Stephen Jones said.

Mr. Jones told employees in a question-and-answer webcast on Thursday that the aircraft will not be returned to Flair’s fleet, and that the Edmonton-based discount airline will alter its schedule as a result. He said the publicity over the seizures at airports in Toronto, Edmonton and Waterloo, Ont., has caused a “slight” drop in ticket sales at a time the airline has been trying launch an aggressive expansion with new destinations and what was a growing fleet.

The seizures, which happened early in the morning of March, 11, have thrown those plans into question.

Leasing company Airborne Capital repossessed the Boeing 737 Max planes after a five-month period in which Flair repeatedly missed lease payments amounting to millions of dollars, the Dublin-based company said.

Mr. Jones did not provide details in his webcast on the changes to the summer schedule. The Globe and Mail reviewed audio of the meeting. Flair is planning more than 6,200 flights in July and August, a 64-per-cent increase over the same period in the past summer, according to aviation data company Cirium.

“I think it’s becoming clear that we’re not getting those four aircraft back,” Mr. Jones said. “So we need to deal with the brutal reality of the situation and then have a look at our future schedule for the summer and adjust for that.”

“It hit the brand hard and it hit us hard. Let’s not underestimate the impact this has.”

John Gradek, who teaches aviation leadership at McGill University, said the loss of the planes puts in jeopardy some of the new city pairs Flair has announced. Like any airline, the company will scrub the flights that are not selling, and offer refunds or rebooking.

“They’re going to cancel flights,” he said. “They’re not going to expand like they said they would.”

The federal government permits airlines to overbook flights, and offer a schedule that exceeds the number of planes in a fleet. Mr. Gradek said this is a shortcoming of Canadian law: “Where’s Transport Canada and Consumer Affairs?”

Mr. Jones said the seizures caused 12 flight cancellations that affected 1,900 people at the start of March break. Flair deployed three backup planes and rented a third from Nolinor, a Quebec-based airline, to resume its schedule at the start of the week.

“It wasn’t easy,” he said. “We had to scramble.”

The Nolinor rental is known as a wet lease, and carries a premium price because it comes complete with a crew.

“We couldn’t afford to wet lease four aircraft,” Mr. Jones said.

Flair spokesperson Mike Arnot did not address a question from The Globe and Mail about how the summer schedule will change. The airline will make changes to its summer schedule “long before there’s an impact to customers,” Mr. Jones said in an e-mail. Flair will have 21 aircraft and 1,000 employees for the summer, he said.

Flair has sued Airborne and related leasing companies for the loss of the jets, describing it as unexpected and unwarranted. Mr. Jones said the amount in arrears was about $1.2-million. Airborne has rejected Flair’s allegations.

“Terminating an aircraft lease is always a last resort, and such a decision is never taken lightly,” Airborne said in a statement.

“In this case, following numerous notices to Flair, it again failed to make payments when due and Airborne took steps to terminate the leasing of the aircraft.”