Lynx Air takes final, delayed flight from Calgary

Lynx Air flights were expected continue to operate as per usual through Sunday, but both a flight from Calgary to Las Vegas and to Vancouver were listed as cancelled

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Lynx Air made a final, protracted exit from Calgary on Sunday, with passengers left waiting — or grounded — as two of the failed airline’s departing flights were cancelled and the other delayed late into the afternoon.

Friends Austin Cutrara and Adam Paterson checked into their delayed Lynx Air flight from Calgary to Toronto on Sunday, not knowing it would be the airline’s last time to hit the skies.

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Calgary-based Lynx announced it would cease operations late last week, citing insurmountable financial pressures as the leading cause of its demise.

With operations shutting down at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Lynx Air flights were expected to continue to operate as usual through Sunday, but both a flight from Calgary to Las Vegas and another to Vancouver were listed as cancelled. Several other Lynx departures were cancelled Saturday.

Cutrara and Paterson visited Calgary over their reading break from school, for a couple of days of skiing and to skate on Lake Louise. Being students, they wanted to save money on airfare.

“Lynx is like a nice and affordable airline. We fly pretty light, we just take our backpacks, one bag, come here for the week,” said Cutrara.

Paterson said, “It’s good to fly on a budget, with it going though I know it’s tougher to do these trips.”

Lynx Air
Travellers check in at the Lynx Air kiosks at Calgary International Airport on Sunday, February 25, 2024. Brent Calver/Postmedia

Prior to their trip, they had never flown Lynx before, but said the flight on the way into Calgary was good.

Another passenger on the delayed final flight, Zana Jento had her flight booked ahead of time, not knowing it would be the last.

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“I guess I was surprised, I got the news while I was here (the airport),” Jento said. “My dad texted me, like, ‘Oh by the way, Lynx is shutting down tomorrow.’”

Lynx Air faced myriad challenges

Lynx Air COO Jim Sullivan said in an earlier memo to staff that the closure was caused by compounding financial difficulties brought on by high inflation, fuel, capital and regulatory costs, coupled with adverse exchange rates and “competitive tension in the Canadian market”.

Airline industry experts predicted in January that low fares brought on by heightened airline competition could spell the end of at least one of Canada’s ultra-low-cost carriers.

Launched in November of 2021 in Calgary, Lynx was meant to be a low-cost alternative to larger Canadian airlines. Their first flight took off in April 2022, and in Sullivan’s memo he claimed the airline boasted nearly two million passengers, with the year-over-year number increasing by 187 per cent in 2023.

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Despite the airline’s substantial growth, ongoing operational improvements, cost reductions and efforts to explore a sale or merger, “the challenges facing the company’s business have become too significant to overcome,” a press release stated.

The airline’s nine Boeing 737 Max 8s covered 23 destinations including most major Canadian cities and some U.S. locations, according to Lynx’s website.

Passengers with existing bookings with Lynx Air have been advised to contact their credit card company to secure refunds. Additional information for Lynx customers is available here.

With files from Brent Calver, Matt Scace and Scott Strasser

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