Due to a “commercial dispute,” Flair Airlines was compelled to cancel a few flights, as four planes were confiscated. The airline had fallen behind on payments for these aircraft and insisted that it had not received any advance notice of the seizures.
Flair Airlines Lessor Dispute
During the busy March break travel period in Canada, scores of passengers who had booked Flair Airlines flights were left stranded as four Boeing 737s were seized.
According to sources cited by Global News, the ultra-low-cost Canadian carrier had fallen five days behind on payments for the leased aircraft.
One of the 737s was seen on the apron at the Region of Waterloo Airport, with its machines covered, while two others were seized in Toronto and the fourth in Edmonton.
Flair Airlines has now made payment for the planes, but it is uncertain whether this will be enough to restore its agreement with the lessor – sources claim that the lessor in question is Airborne Capital, an Irish leasing company established in 2017.
Flair Airlines has expressed discontent with the “extreme and unusual actions” of the New York-based hedge fund and the lessor responsible for the seizure.
However, the lessor had reportedly informed Flair of its intent to cancel the agreement on Friday, but the airline maintains that it had no prior knowledge of the aircraft seizure.
Flair Airlines has stated that it will attempt to resolve the situation through consensual mediation with the lessor. It remains to be seen whether the confiscated aircraft will fly with Flair Airlines again.
Spare Planes Backfill Flights
Fortunately, Flair Airlines was able to utilize three spare aircraft to cover many of the flights affected by the plane seizures, thus mitigating the impact to some extent.
The airline has assured passengers traveling within the next 72 hours to be accommodated on a Flair flight or, if possible, on another airline at Flair’s expense.
Flair Airlines said: “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience given to the passengers and are working tirelessly to minimize disruption. “This includes moving our small aircraft to support activities,”
However, not all customers were pleased with the airline’s arrangements. Laura Pomeroy, a passenger, informed that she and her family were rebooked on unsuitable flights for the following week, prompting them to make alternate arrangements with another airline.
Pomeroy also mentioned that although the carrier offered them food and hotel vouchers, they never received them.
Pomeroy said, “When we contacted customer service, they informed us that the flight had been canceled due to mechanical issues. I understand that unforeseen issues can arise at the last minute, but what I don’t understand is why no one was present to communicate with us and explain the situation.”
Leased 737 Fleet
All 22 of Flair’s Boeing 737 aircraft are currently leased. According to ch-aviation, 13 of the carrier’s 737s are leased from 777 Partners, six from Airborne Capital, two from Zephyrus Aviation Capital, and one from an undisclosed lessor.
The airline will also receive additional Boeing 737 MAX aircraft as part of a deal with 777 Partners for 14 of these planes, announced in late 2021.
Flair Airlines now offers flights to more than 35 destinations and has just unveiled its Winter 2023 schedule, which includes several new routes.