Canada Jetlines Ltd., a fledgling discount carrier based in Vancouver, has released its long-awaited route map while it devises a new financing plan.
Jetlines wants to begin with flights in Western Canada from its base in Vancouver later this year, and gradually expand over the next three years by offering service from Winnipeg and Hamilton.
The airline would initially promote domestic flights from Vancouver, Winnipeg and Hamilton. Jetlines is also aiming to eventually enter sun destinations in the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Jetlines hasn't determined which routes would be offered first, but its map shows Vancouver as the base for flights to B.C. cities such as Prince Rupert, Prince George, Fort St. John and Penticton.
Calgary, where WestJet Airlines Ltd. is strong, is not on Jetlines' route map. But the plan calls for offering point-to-point Alberta service between Edmonton and Fort McMurray.
Industry analysts are taking a wait-and-see approach toward Jetlines, noting the history of failed Canadian carriers over the years.
Jetlines believes its positioning as an ultra low-cost carrier will win over consumers, including those seeking to fly on jets instead of turboprops on regional routes domestically.
On cross-border trips from Vancouver, destinations under consideration include Las Vegas, Phoenix, Oakland, San Diego and Cabo San Lucas. From Hamilton, flights could go to places such as Orlando, St. Petersburg, Miami and Montego Bay. Miami and Phoenix are among the possible destinations from Winnipeg.
The airport in Abbotsford in the B.C. Fraser Valley could play a role in service to Las Vegas. Jetlines is also studying the possibility of Victoria-Honolulu and Victoria-Maui service.
Jetlines unveiled its anticipated route network as it abandoned its proposed merger with Inovent Capital Inc.
The two companies, both based in Vancouver, had planned to merge and list publicly on the TSX Venture Exchange under the name Jetlines.
The upstart carrier plans to begin with two Boeing 737 aircraft this summer and expand to have a fleet of 16 Boeing jets by mid-2018. While Jetlines says it faces only minor delays due to the cancelled merger, no new target date has been announced for the launch of service.
Jetlines' pact with Inovent required renewal at the end of January, but the airline's management opted to pursue a different avenue of financing that provides greater flexibility, Jetlines president David Solloway said in an interview Monday.
The carrier still hopes to raise money through an initial public offering in a timely manner, he said.
"We have some other opportunities that came up and we're going to explore those, now that we're free of the agreement with Inovent," Mr. Solloway said. "One of big questions was the route map. There will be a few tweaks to the map of course, but this will give people a good idea."
Under the now-cancelled plan with Inovent, Jetlines set a goal of raising $50-million.
Mr. Solloway and Jetlines chief executive officer Jim Scott say Vancouver International Airport is the key to the company's launch. The two aviation veterans and several other staff have been working out of a small office at the airport, poring over industry data.
They won't be chasing Canada's busiest routes, such as the Vancouver-Toronto schedule, because they don't want to compete head-to-head on major hubs against Air Canada and WestJet.
"We continue to believe that our business model represents an attractive value proposition for both investors and price-sensitive passengers," Mr. Scott said in a statement posted over the weekend on Jetlines' website.