Another airline bites the dust

Canadian travelers scramble as Lynx Air announces its sudden closure
Gabriel Theriault – Argosy Illustrator

Prospective travelers visiting the Lynx Air website on February 23 were confronted with a red banner announcing the end of the airline’s operations. The banner declared February 26, 12:01 a.m. as Lynx Air’s time of death, encouraging travelers to visit their FAQ page for more information. With only four days of notice for some travelers who had previously booked flights, this announcement certainly came as a shock.

Lynx Air began flying in April 2022 and since then have prided themselves on accessibility, simplicity, safety, and commitment. On their website, Lynx self-identifies as “redefining what it means to be an ultra low-cost carrier” promising low prices, no hidden fees, and friendly service to each passenger no matter where they are flying. Providing flights from 18 destinations between Canada and the United States, Lynx became a popular source of Canadian air travel over the past two years. However, the airline confides to travelers that the tremendous work they have put into growth and expansion since opening has not been enough. They cite their passengers as being their purpose and drive, and therefore are grieved to cease their operations. 

The reasons for the end of the airline revolve around the difficulties of Canadian air travel. Canada is unique in its seasonal nature and vast geography. For young airlines attempting to provide low-cost air travel nationwide, unpredictable weather complications pose a threat. Lynx is not the first to cite Canadian weather as an obstacle to business. In fall 2023, Flair Airlines— a low-cost Canadian carrier— removed flight bookings for the majority of its destinations for the 2023–2024 winter season. Alongside cancellations due to weather, the Canadian geography also creates issues for small young airlines. With the rising price of fuel, flying the vast distance between Canadian cities is growing too expensive for companies to afford. 

In a statement on their website, Lynx Air writes, “the compounding financial pressures associated with inflation, fuel costs, exchange rates, costs of capital, regulatory costs, and competitive tension in the Canadian market have ultimately proven too steep a mountain for our organization to overcome.” The airline claims to have battled these challenges by working tirelessly to find solutions, however ceasing operations quickly became the only path available. 

The quick turnaround of the announcement and end date meant many passengers were left with canceled flights. The airline reassured these affected travelers that they would receive updates on a refund process. However, the Lynx Air contact centre will not assist with said refunds and the process of obtaining one is unclear with Lynx advising passengers to await further updates. Therefore, as of now, it is the responsibility of the passengers to contact their credit card company about a refund. For those partway through their travel, this unclear system proves troublesome, especially when considering the rising price of tickets from other airlines so close to the departure date. As well, Lynx Air disclosed that travel vouchers and flight vouchers are no longer accepted, disadvantaging those who may have received cancellations in the past. 

Lynx Air is not the first budget-friendly airline to cease operations in the past year. In October 2023, Swoop Airlines announced its closure citing financial reasons. The brand was taken over by parent company West Jet, one of the largest airlines in the country. As the small low-cost Canadian airlines dwindle, passengers face the reality of growing flight prices. This dread is not experienced alone, Lynx Air states to their travelers that they are “as disappointed as you are.”

“It is with a heavy heart we leave the skies,” laments the airline, “offering low fares to inspire Canadians to fly more and to spend more enjoying time with loved ones in beloved destinations was a great privilege.” Alongside the notices of closure, the airline’s website maintains old statements reflecting promises for great destinations and services in the future; promises that will now never come true. 

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