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Alberta's Aviation Heritage
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In June 2002 Michel Leblanc, the main shareholder and previous presidents of Royal Airlines, established the new discount airline Jetsgo in Montreal. It started operations with three flights a day from Montreal to Toronto, and two return trips from Toronto to Winnipeg and Vancouver. Jetsgo also provided return flights from Halifax to Toronto each day. Flights between Stephenville, Newfoundland and Sydney, Nova Scotia were provided once a week during the summer.

The airline started its operation with 200 employees and three Boeing MD-83 aircraft, each with 160 seats. The fares offered by Jetsgo were lower than Air Canada’s discount carrier, Tango, flying from Montreal to Toronto. Within the first week Jetsgo carried out $2.1 million of business.

Like WestJet, Jetsgo’s inexpensive service brought increasing demand that encouraged rapid growth. It provided economical flights with no frills, using a fleet of low maintenance aircraft and low fares that brought about high passenger loads on flights. Other promotions, like booking flights at specific times for $1 to any destination from Toronto, assisted in introducing the flying public to their services. Another promotion offered passengers a new year’s flight from Montreal to Toronto for $20.04.

By 2004, Jetsgo had 14 aircraft and 590 employees providing service to about twenty destinations in Canada and the United States. It was Canada’s third largest airline and had a hold on almost 10 per cent of the domestic airline market. The company had expanded to 1200 employees by the end of that same year, but revenue was beginning to shrink. On March 11, 2005, Jetsgo planes and computers were removed from airports and President Michel Leblanc announced that Jetsgo had ceased operations and was seeking bankruptcy protection. Though the specific reasons for the company’s demise are not known, experts believe that its fate came about as a result of the competitive nature of the discount flight industry. It was revealed that the company had steadily lost $55 million in the eight months prior to its abrupt end.


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Alberta's Aviation Heritage

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