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Western discount carrier would launch with two planes and a Vancouver base

Initial plans for Canada Jetlines Ltd. call for the introduction of two Airbus A319 narrow-body jets next summer, expanding to a total of 16 planes by early 2017.

Entrepreneurs seeking to launch a western discount carrier say their recipe to woo budget-minded travellers will start with two planes in the summer of 2014.

Canada Jetlines Ltd. describes its proposal to open an ultra low-cost carrier as a strategy to meet demand from bargain hunters turned off by higher fares charged by Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd.

Jetlines said in a 48-page presentation to prospective investors that it wants to "fill aircraft with passengers with lower airfares, and increase profits from ancillary revenues" such as fees for everything from carry-on luggage to extra charges for roomier seats. Initial plans call for the introduction of two Airbus A319 narrow-body jets next summer in Western Canada, then expanding to a total of 16 planes by early 2017.

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Robson Capital Markets Advisory is helping with efforts to attract $1-million in seed money, followed by plans to raise $25-million in financing in co-ordination with Salman Partners Inc. and others. Jetlines' advisers hope to embark on a further three stages to raise $25-million in each round.

The fledgling carrier's backers say that having $101-million in syndicated financing will solidify long-term plans. Aviation consultant Jim Scott is the founder and president of Vancouver-based Jetlines. Other members of the five-person executive team include David Solloway, formerly with Oasis Hong Kong Airlines Ltd., which offered service between Vancouver and Hong Kong for less than 10 months, before halting flights in 2008.

Jetlines will face major challenges to carve out a niche in the Western Canadian travel market, said Jacques Kavafian, a former airline industry analyst who shelved ambitious plans in 2011 to sell Canadian holiday packages to Japanese visitors.

But Jetlines said its in a six-page briefing note that its hub at Vancouver International Airport would allow it to pursue what it views as under-served markets in the West. Jetlines noted that its route network would include places such as Vancouver; Nanaimo, B.C.; Red Deer, Alta.; and Saskatoon, to name a few.

The Canadian Transportation Agency said it is reviewing Jetlines' application for a domestic licence.

Sid Fattedad, a former executive at Canadian Airlines International, serves as chairman of Jetlines' four-member board of directors.

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About the Author

Brent Jang is a business reporter in The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau. He joined the Globe in 1995. His former positions include transportation reporter in Toronto, energy correspondent in Calgary and Western columnist for Report on Business. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of The Gateway student newspaper. Mr. More


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