Swoop, Canada’s ultra-low cost airline is celebrating four years of making air travel more accessible and affordable for Canadians. The airline kicked off festivities with two inaugural flights departing from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
Swoop flight WO370 arrived in Deer Lake, NL at 11:40 a.m. local time, and Swoop flight WO750 landed for the very first time in the Big Apple, at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport at 10:15 a.m. local time.
Since the airline’s first flight on June 20, 2018, Swoop has proudly served over four million travellers, connected Canadians to 33 destinations in five different countries with a total of 52 routes currently operating, and over 28,000 flights operated in these past four years.
Swoop is inviting travellers to join the festivities at airports across the country, with giveaways and special birthday treats. The ultra-not-expensive airline is also GIF(t)ingCanadians with 40% off base fares with promo code BDAYGIFS.
Dubbing itself an ultra-affordable airline rather than an ultra-low cost carrier, Lynx Air has big plans for the Canadian market. During an event held in Toronto on March 17, CEO Merren McArthur announced a major expansion out of the Toronto region, adding four new destinations and five new routes to its network.
“By the end of July, we will be flying 92 flights per week in and out of the Toronto area, which is more than 17,000 seats per week. This is a big investment for a small startup like us,” said McArthur. “We’re offering really great prices and that’s what we want to do to attract people to our airline, but then we want to earn loyalty from our customers through providing great customer service. Our model is about growing the market share, so we’re not going to steal traffic from our competitors, we want to grow the market.”
In Ontario, Lynx will operate out of both Toronto Pearson Airport and John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, with service to six destinations: Halifax, St. John’s, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
Depending on what time of the year it is, travellers can score deals on fares less than $100 each way to popular destinations like Vancouver or Edmonton.
The newly announced Lynx routes are:
Toronto Pearson – Halifax: Three flights per week, commencing June 30, and increasing to five per week from July 30.
Toronto Pearson – St. John’s: Two flights per week, commencing June 28, and increasing to seven flights per week from July 28.
Toronto Pearson – Edmonton: Seven flights per week, commencing July 28.
Hamilton – Calgary: Two flights per week, commencing June 29, and increasing to four flights per week from July 29.
Hamilton – Halifax: Two flights per week, commencing June 29.
“We already had three destinations, which were Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver on our network map,” she said. “We believe airfares have been far too high for far too long in Canada.”
Lynx is set to takeoff on its first flight between Calgary and Vancouver on April 7, followed by Calgary and Toronto on April 11 on brand-new Boeing 737 aircraft. Lynx will also be increasing its frequencies between Toronto Pearson and Calgary from seven flights per week to twelve flights per week from June 28.
Once reserved for the rich and famous, private jets have become an increasingly popular method of travel due to the exclusivity, convenience, and privacy they offer. As a result, several Canadian companies have expanded their fleets, noting an influx of passenger demand that can be attributed to several factors.
“Private jets have always been quite in demand even pre-pandemic, but there is no denying that we have seen that demand almost double in the industry throughout and as a result of the pandemic,” says CEO of FlyGTA Airlines, Chris Nowrouzi. Founded in 2015 at Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto, the charter airline has expanded to six locations in Ontario and Quebec. The company currently operates seven private aircraft, and intends to expand its fleet throughout the year. “We fly to any destination in North America, and have fixed destinations in the South such as Miami, Fort Myers, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, and areas within that region,” Nowrouzi says.
Earlier this year, private aviation services company Chartright Air Group added a Citation Ultra aircraft to the Chartright West Coast fleet. The current Calgary-based fleet has several strong performers under its brand in the luxury private jet space, including the Falcon 2000LX (a large jet) and the Challenger 300 (a super midsize jet). The new Citation Ultra is smaller and classified as a light jet, making it the ideal choice for more intimate groups and leisurely activities.
One of the most popular aircraft for leisure and corporate travel, the aircraft can easily reach several popular U.S. sun destinations, including Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Scottsdale, and Las Vegas, as well as sought-after Canadian escapes like Kelowna, Vancouver or Fort McMurray from a Calgary gateway, as of Feb. 1, 2022. “Since the Ultra is a private jet, we can depart from over 5,000 airports,” says Svitlana Gaidamachenko, marketing manager, Chartright Air Group. “The same can be applied to our private jet, the Challenger 300 located in Regina, Saskatchewan. One of Saskatchewan’s most premier aircraft can fly directly from Regina across North America.”
Although airlines have reinvented their cabins over the years to appeal to their clientele of luxury travellers, offering a suite of upgrades and amenities, the onboard experience aboard a private jet is simply unparalleled, Nowrouzi says. “It’s very private, and it’s over too quickly! Generally once we take off, the cockpit door is closed, and you have the aircraft to yourself. You have the option to enjoy yourself with a movie, or browse on WiFi, or enjoy the premium bar on the aircraft. The best part in my opinion, is the arrival experience. Customs meets the aircraft on the tarmac, and you’re off within five to ten minutes.”
FlyGTA can also supply custom catering and exclusive branding for its guests. FlyGTA currently allows passengers to request a tailor made private jet rental, or use the instant book feature via the company’s website. The tailor made option is created by means of a custom quote, whereas the instant book feature is commonly reserved for more common destinations, like between Toronto and Montreal to Florida and the Caribbean. This year, airplane tours aboard the company’s private jets begin March 2022.
The Four Seasons Private Jet, which offers travellers a choice of group jet expeditions or custom private travel, provides a fully all-inclusive luxury experience. “There are completely bespoke and personalised trips for individuals, families or friends for anywhere they want to go, using either private or commercial flights,” says Becky Youman, Communications Director, TCS World Travel. “These trips are all encompassing—from first-class commercial or chartered transportation and world-class accommodations to savvy local guides, curated dining experiences, transfers and end-to-end service.”
TCS World Travel is the exclusive operator for the Four Seasons Private Jet experience, working very closely with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. TCS World Travel has been operating private jet journeys for Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts since 2012. Booking on the Four Seasons Private Jet also provides complimentary luggage handling, ground transportation, and a veteran expedition team who handles all of the logistics of the trip.
What’s the cost?
As far as pricing is concerned, the cost of booking a private jet typically depends on the aircraft and destination, as opposed to individual ticketing. “The cost to fly private is generally for the whole aircraft,” says Nowrouzi. “Prices [for FlyGTA passengers] can range from $6,000 for Toronto to New York, $25,000 to the Caribbean, and upwards of $50,000 to $150,000 for flights to Europe or South America. In general, I would say the prices compare to a first-class ticket for each person in your group, if you were to fill the plane.” The price of a private jet experience also depends on what is offered onboard, as well as the overall trip at hand. Adult pricing for 2022 Four Seasons Private Jet itineraries, for example, begins at USD $173,000. The trip cost does not include airfare to and from travellers’ home city; passport and visa fees; personal expenses such as laundry or telephone charges, optional additional activities, such as golf fees or spa services not covered by resort credits, private cars and drivers; and food and beverage consumed outside of the private jet and regular daily meals.
New this year, TCS World Travel launched a small group jet expedition to Canada with a set itinerary. Running Aug. 13 to Aug. 27, 2022, Unchartered Canada is a 15-day journey that transports 12 guests to six Canadian cities including Vancouver, Clayoquot, Churchill, Halifax, Fogo Island, and Montreal. Along the way, guests will stay in luxury five-star accommodations, discover Canada’s breathtaking wildlife, and enjoy the comforts of an all-inclusive journey from beginning to end. As Canadians continue to seek out new experiences, jetting off on a private aircraft is a trend that will likely remain.
“From 2012-2020, 10 per cent of all Four Seasons Private Jet guests were Canadian,” says a media spokesperson for Four Seasons. “The benefits of travelling by private jet have become more desirable in the current state of the world,” adds Youman. “Fewer people per plane, a more controlled environment, smaller airports, private or expedited customs and immigration, and the ability to make changes and pivot up to the last minute are all hallmarks of travelling by private jet that guests are prioritizing.”
Swoop is adding non-stop flights to five new destinations this summer — New York, Chicago, Nashville, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
In addition to serving five new destinations, it will also extend its current seasonal services to San Diego, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, St. Pete-Clearwater, Orlando (Sanford) and Phoenix (Mesa) into the summer season.
In total Swoop will serve 11 U.S. destinations with flights from its three main Canadian bases in Toronto, Hamilton, and Edmonton.
Bert van der Stege, head of commercial & finance at Swoop, said that: “As part of our planned growth in 2022, we’re excited to be adding five new popular U.S. destinations to our network. As Canada’s leading ultra-low-cost carrier, we are growing our fleet, expanding our network, and adding service to existing destinations to ensure we are ready to meet Canadian’s pent-up demand for travel experiences south of the border.”
In addition to the new U.S. destinations, Swoop previously announced it will begin service to 10 new Canadian destinations bringing the airline’s total number of destinations served to 33 this summer.
Swoop’s announced U.S. expansion comes as the ULCC reports significantly increased domestic passenger numbers and record bookings, on par with pre-pandemic demand.
The airline expects to see that pent-up demand trend extend to U.S. leisure travel this summer as more than 30.5 million fully vaccinated Canadians look to resume their transborder travel habits.
Travellers interested in booking the luxury adventure of a lifetime are invited to click here for a closer look at the exclusive journeys to some of the world’s most captivating destinations on offer.
With all-time high demand and unprecedented sellout pace, the expertly curated itineraries will allow Four Seasons passengers to seamlessly explore a collection of bucket-list destinations, removing the stress of multiple commercial flights, layovers and delays. More opportunities await as the full line-up of 2023 itineraries is announced in the coming months.
Experience the majestic landscapes of Africa on a magnificent 13-day family-friendly adventure, ideally timed over school breaks for a holiday to remember. From exhilarating wildlife excursions in Rwanda to the ancient pyramids of Egypt, travellers of all ages will experience an enriching blend of natural wonders and stunning city adventures.
Two African Wonders journeys are planned for 2023. The first is scheduled to take flight December 28, 2022 – January 9, 2023 and is currently wait list only, with the second departing in August 2023.
August 1 – 13, 2023 – Athens, Greece – The Pyramids, Egypt (day trip) – Serengeti, Tanzania – Mauritius – Rwanda – Victoria Falls, Zambia (day trip) – Johannesburg, South Africa
Begin the trip of a lifetime by exploring the historic heart of Athens on a private guided tour of the Acropolis and Parthenon. Next, visit the ancient Pyramids of Giza in Egypt to explore curiosities that have captured the imaginations of visitors for millennia. Celebrate magical moments with a torchlit dinner in the savannah, complete with sundowners and live entertainment in Serengeti National Park under the protection of Masai warriors.
In Mauritius, explore the island’s protected lagoons by kayak, snorkel through the coral reefs, or take a cooking class with an expert Four Seasons chef. In the lush forests of Rwanda, embark on a gorilla trek with local scientists and veterinarians caring for the country’s endangered primates. Enjoy a day trip to Zambia’s Victoria Falls, known to locals as “the smoke that thunders.” Conclude with a final stop and farewell brunch in Johannesburg before heading home, or continue on to another captivating destination.
As part of the African Wonders journey, additional activities can be tailored to the interests and age of each guest in concert with Four Seasons concierge teams in each destination.
The longest-running Four Seasons Private Jet journey is back, featuring a showcase of spectacular natural beauty, enduring cultural traditions, inspiring urban experiences and iconic wonders.
April 17 – May 10, 2023 – Oahu, USA – Bora Bora – Sydney, Australia – Bali, Indonesia – Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, Thailand – Taj Mahal, India (day trip) – Dubai, UAE – Florence, Italy – London, England
Starting off in Hawaii, embark on a spiritual journey to the westernmost tip of Oahu to hear tales from a revered storyteller followed by a traditional hula. Enjoy a guided snorkel safari in Bora Bora before jetting off to Australia to go backstage at the Sydney Opera House.
Take a batik painting class or go rafting on Bali’s longest river and enjoy visiting Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, the former capitals of the ancient Lanna kingdom in Thailand, offering transcendent temples, jungle landscapes and a culture of enduring traditions. Enjoy a day trip to the Taj Mahal without long lines and airport transfers courtesy of a private airport in Agra.
In Dubai, savour spectacular sunset views over the Arabian Gulf from the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. In Florence, sample the region’s exquisite cuisine and enjoy a private viewing of Michelangelo’s David. Finally, celebrate a journey well-travelled in London by heading backstage for a show at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
March 3 to 26, 2023 – Seattle, USA – Kyoto, Japan – Hoi An, Vietnam – Maldives – Serengeti, Tanzania – Marrakech, Morocco – Budapest, Hungary – St. Petersburg, Russia – Paris, France
Experience cultural immersion on a spectacular voyage across four continents. From a glimpse inside Russia’s lavish imperial past to a samurai sword lesson in Kyoto, this is a journey designed to stimulate the senses.
The company has been steadily broadening its sky-high presence, happily willing to connect with southern Ontario residents who plan to travel near and not quite so near.
FlyGTA, which operates out of Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport, began by carrying people between Toronto and such Ontario locales as Niagara, Muskoka and Waterloo, airborne service that allows travellers to avoid the Toronto area’s often famously bad traffic.
FlyGTA CEO Chris Nowrouzi acknowledges the pandemic has created challenges for his company but also delivered some selling points.
PRIVATE BECOMING POPULAR
“Needless to say, using private jets for both essential service and leisure travel became more popular,” he states of a form of transportation that minimizes the contact passengers have with other people en route to their destination.
Planes in FlyGTA’s fleet can each carry eight passengers.
Nowrouzi notes FlyGTA – which has been offering private aircraft charters for over 6 years — decided to create a tour operator division, combining private jet service with stringent safety protocols to offer vacations he says lead to major time savings.
The company has set its sights on offering what Nowrouzi describes as “low-risk, luxury destinations” in the Caribbean.
Among choices FlyGTA decided upon was a 007 package that has a private jet carry clients to Jamaica, staying at Goldeneye, the oceanside retreat of Ian Fleming, who wrote the James Bond novels.
Goldeneye is now a luxury retreat that enables guests to see Fleming memorabilia.
Nowrouzi reports “some of the greatest” Bond novels were written at Goldeneye.
He says going from carrying people to and from points in southern Ontario to taking clients to destinations in the Caribbean marks a major advancement for his company.
But carrying clients through Caribbean airspace is not the most distant service FlyGTA can undertake, he notes.
“We are able to fly anywhere in the world,” Nowrouzi proudly states.
Not even a global pandemic can prevent Toronto’s FlyGTA Airlines from spreading its wings.
The aviation company, which operates out of Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport, is indeed preparing to broaden its operation at a time when many travel companies have been virtually idle. FlyGTA first made its mark carrying people to points near to Toronto, such as Muskoka, Niagara and Waterloo, enabling them to avoid the notoriously bad traffic out of the city.
FlyGTA CEO, Chris Nowrouzi, concedes this year has created obstacles for his company but adds that it isn’t preventing FlyGTA from branching out. “Challenge has been the word of the year,” he states. “After the initial shock and lockdown, we slowly started bouncing back, then got very busy! We moved from some plans that were in the works for the leisure travel market, toward utilizing the advantages we have while airlines went into standstill. Needless to say, using private jets for both essential service and leisure travel became more popular.
“So this put us into a position to utilize our tour operator arm, and create available packages. We’ll be opening bookings in December, working on distribution to the travel agents, and giving the new program a jumpstart.”
So just what is in store in FlyGTA’s immediate future? Well, Nowrouzi says his company will be able to cater those who are intrigued by the tales of a super-spy. “We are combining our private jet service, safe travel protocols, and major time savings with low-risk, luxury destinations in the Caribbean. For example, our 007 package will have your bubble flying down to Jamaica in our private jets and staying at the GoldenEye luxury villa, where some of the greatest James Bond stories were created! It’s celebrity status at a price that’s reasonable.”GoldenEye was the oceanside retreat of Bond creator Ian Fleming and is now an upscale resort.
FlyGTA has been offering private aircraft charters for approximately 5 years, and the new vacation program is launching in December for the holiday season. All FlyGTA aircrafts can carry 8 passengers, and the company has over 10 planes in its fleet.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to taking clients to desired destinations. “Our optimal range is North America, and our most attractive options are to the Caribbean Islands,” concludes Nowrouzi. “But we are able to fly to anywhere in the world.”
What’s worse than the bumper-to- bumper summer traffic heading north from Toronto on a Friday afternoon? The car is cramped, tempers flare, kids melt down, everyone’s hungry, and we’re not even past the city limits yet. What should be a 90-minute drive turns into a mind-bending, patience- testing three-hour crawl. Well, what if I told you there’s a better way? This May long weekend — the unofficial start to summer and the official start to cottage season — instead of taking to the highway, I boarded a 40-minute flight from downtown to Muskoka. I could get used to this…
11:25 AM After a quick and friendly check-in, I take a seat in the comfortable lounge at Fly GTA Airlines at Billy Bishop Airport. With free WiFi, ample magazines, and complimentary refreshments, I take a few moments to relax before heading out on the tarmac.
11:51 AM Unlike traditional flights, as soon as all the passengers are checked-in, we can board the plane. Staff are eager to assist with luggage, if needed. A brief welcome from the pilot, seat belts buckled, and we’re ready to go!
11:56 AM Time for take-off. Nothing quite like an aerial view of Toronto’s incredible skyline. On board, I meet fellow passengers and cottagers from Lake Rosseau, Michael and Shea. It’s also their first time flying north for the weekend. “This couldn’t be easier,”exclaims Michael. “Better than traffic.” My thoughts exactly.
12:10 PM Soaring just above the clouds now. A signal is spotty at this altitude, but I did manage to get in a few business texts, with pictures, of course. Sitting back, enjoying the scenery, I feel relaxed already. What a start to the long weekend!
12:17 PM There’s no mistaking the enormous, deep blue of Lake Simcoe. I can almost taste cottage country now.
12:26 PM Zipping past the cottage- country traffic starting to build on Highway 11. 12:32 PM The scenery grows ever more familiar, as we enter deeper into cottage country. Lakes dotted with islands and windswept trees: Muskoka’s rugged landscape starts to take shape.
12:36 PM And, in no time at all, we’ve landed at Muskoka Airport. I’m impressed with the service, the ease — what a stress-free way to start the weekend. Back on the ground, I ask Michael and Shea if I might see them again on another flight this summer. “Oh yes, the value of your time and decreased stress level is worth it, it’s a no-brainer,” Michael replies. FlyGTA Airlines (flygta.com) offers flights to Muskoka Thursday through Tuesday throughout the summer months. Check back often for rates and scheduled flight times. Need a ride? FlyGTA can also arrange for airport transfers. I, for one, will be taking this route as often as possible.
Our planet is massive, and there’s no way around it without spending many hours in the air. But Singapore Airlines is taking some of the sting out of the transcontinental, transoceanic travel experience. It’s called the AIRBUS A350-900 ULTRA LONG RANGE, an airplane specifically designed to bridge the gap between North America and Asia as quickly as possible. Of course, the best way to accomplish the briefest possible travel time is to stay in the air and avoid connecting flights. This plane is capable of flying further in commercial service than any other, and Singapore Airlines is the first airline to deploy the aircraft. Singapore Airlines will launch nonstop services between Singapore and New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco this fall. With a flying time of up to 18 hours and 45 minutes, these will be the world’s longest commercial flights.
Passengers will be treated to an inflight experience that includes an improved air circulation system and cabin pressurization to a lower altitude, as well as higher ceilings, larger windows and 16 million LED lighting options to allow for optimal inflight rest. Passengers will also have access to videos in the inflight entertainment system that have been created with the participation of award-winning Canyon Ranch, a leading wellness brand. These focus on ways to maintain health and wellness during the flight with described, illustrated exercises.
The inflight menu has also been advised by Canyon Ranch with those same wellness goals in mind. For instance, passengers in business class can look forward to enjoying prawn ceviche and lavosh with orange, cucumber, grapefruit, cilantro, scallions, and bell pepper, as well as braised pork with citrus and white bean cassoulet with spinach The lie-flat seats in business class are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, giving all passengers access to an aisle. Don’t forget to download the myKrisWorld app before take off, allowing you to create playlists of your favorite movies and music before you board. In addition, the system bookmarks your content, so that a program cut off at the end of a flight can automatically resume at the same spot during the passenger’s next SIA flight.
Get on board and relax! Book your next trip on Singapore Airlines at singaporeair.com.