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Alberta's Aviation Heritage
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"No Frills" Airlines

In the 1990s, there was a new attitude in the flying public. There was an increasing desire to travel by air, but at an affordable price. Traditionally, high fares were associated with additional services, like meals and entertainment on flights, but many travellers in the 1990s were prepared to give up these frills for the convenience of rapid and affordable travel by air. The economics of passenger airlines changed from high fares that offset the cost of the extra services and the empty seats, to low fares, few extra services, and near capacity passenger loads on all flights.

The first airline to demonstrate the effectiveness of the no frills service was the Calgary based WestJet, established in 1996. WestJet demonstrated the effectiveness of the no frills concept as a highly profitable venture with great potential for growth.

In 2002, Montreal based Jetsgo was established on the same principles as WestJet. In response to the competition of such upstart airlines, Air Canada launched its own discount carriers that included AC JETZ, Zip, Tango, and Jazz. Some of these airlines continue to operate while others, like Tango, have shrunk to a reduced fare ticket option on regular Air Canada flights.

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