Canadian ULCC Lynx Air stops flying; had between 2% and 3% of domestic market with nine 737 MAX 8s

Lynx Air

Launched in April 2022 and born out of an existing carrier (Enerjet), Lynx Air (IATA code Y9) has ceased scheduled flying after less than two years. Air Service One looked at the airline in more detail only last month. Initially operating just domestic flights, the airline started US services in January 2023 with flights between Toronto and Orlando.

Since last April Lynx Air has accounted for between 2% and 3% of the Canadian domestic market in terms of seat capacity as it focussed its growth more on US services. Just a few days before it ceased flying it had started its first route to Mexico with a Toronto-Cancun service.

Lynx Air Capacity by region Apr 22-Feb 24

Lynx Air was operating 24 routes this winter, all of which faced competition from at least one other carrier. On its recently introduced Cancun service it was competing with no fewer than six other carriers; Air Canada, Air Transat, Canada Jetlines, Flair, Sunwing Airlines and WestJet.

Nine new routes planned for S24

Analysis of Cirium schedules data reveals that the airline had planned to add nine further routes this summer, including three more US routes. These were (planned frequency in August 2024; competition in August 2024):

Athens International Airport
  • Calgary – Ottawa (4-weekly; WestJet 22w, Porter 14w, Air Canada 7w)
  • Calgary – Quebec City (5-weekly; WestJet 2w)
  • Halifax – St. John’s (daily; Air Canada 35w, Porter 21w)
  • Montreal – Los Angeles (4-weekly; Air Canada 21w, Air Transat 5w)
  • Toronto – Boston (6-weekly; Air Canada 35w)
  • Toronto – Charlottetown (3-weekly; Air Canada 21w, Flair 4w, WestJet 3w)
  • Toronto – Regina (3-weekly; Air Canada 28w, WestJet 7w)
  • Toronto – San Francisco (daily; Air Canada 28w, Porter 7w, United 7w)
  • Vancouver – Regina (3-weekly; Air Canada 21w, WestJet 7w)

Boston, Charlottetown, Ottawa, Quebec City, Regina and San Francisco would have all been new destinations for the carrier.

Aircraft fleet will likely be flying again quite soon

According to the airline was operating nine 189-seat 737 MAX 8s none of which were more than five years old and two of them were only delivered to the airline last summer. Given the global issues with deliveries for various reasons, these aircraft are likely to be highly sought after and likely to be in the air again quite soon.

Why did Lynx Air shutdown?

According to the airline’s website:

“Tremendous work was put into the growth and expansion of Lynx Air over the past two years, offering Canadians a low-cost, seamless travel experience for Canadians. However, the compounding financial pressures associated with inflation, fuel costs, exchange rates, cost of capital, regulatory costs and competitive tension in the Canadian market have ultimately proven too steep a mountain for our organization to overcome. It is with a heavy heart we leave the skies. We hope in our absence that our vision to Inspire More Canadians to Fly leaves its mark on our passengers.”

It was reported locally that one option that had been explored was a merger with fellow ULCC (and also a 737 MAX 8 operator) Flair Airlines.

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