Canada Jetlines says it is getting foreign capital support for June 1 launch

MONTREAL — Canada Jetlines’ CEO says the fledgling airline is looking for capital outside of Canada to help fund the June 1 launch of the ultra low-cost carrier.

Stan Gadek told an investor conference Tuesday that it has received interest from significant undisclosed airline investors.

He says the initial focus is foreign capital because there’s a lack of risk capital in Canada while Europe and the United States have experience with the low-cost business model.

The federal government has given the airline an exemption from foreign ownership rules that will allow it to have 49 per cent foreign ownership with no single investor having more than a 25 per cent stake.

Canada Jetlines plans to start operations from Hamilton, Ont., and will add Abbotsford, B.C. in 2019 and hopes to fly out of Montreal down the road.

It will initially fly four Boeing 737s, adding four annually to reach 24 planes by 2023.

Ganek says the airline will offer the absolute lowest fare in the marketplace, with an average below $100.

He criticized WestJet’s (TSX:WJA) claims that it can double revenues from fees for flight changes, cancellations and checked bags.

Ganek says customers will make their decision based on the final cost so airlines can’t get carried away charging ancillary fees.

Earlier, WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky told the Scotiabank transportation and aerospace conference that Canada hasn’t historically supported more than the equivalent of 2.5 airlines.

He said the plans for three new startups, plus its Swoop and Air Canada Rouge brands will make for a crowded market.

Saretsky added that the Calgary-based airline won’t make Air Canada’s mistakes in launching Rouge in 2013 by ensuring passengers don’t get any nasty surprises.

Flights will be booked on a separate website, check-in will be at a separate Swoop airport counter and the uniforms will be a different colour.

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