00:00 EDT Tuesday, June 04, 2002
Air Canada's discount brand Tango has temporarily slashed fares on the Toronto-Montreal-Ottawa triangle, as two new airlines prepare to do battle for budget passengers in the East.
Tango's Web site is advertising one-way fares of $69 between Toronto and Montreal or $59 between Toronto and Ottawa. The fares are $30 lower than Tango's usual best rates, but are only available between June 6 and 9 -- before upstarts CanJet Airlines and Jetsgo Corp. enter the fray.
Air Canada said it is offering reduced fares this weekend because it has seats left over after adding capacity in and out of Montreal for Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix.
But the investor behind Jetsgo -- who vowed last week that his $89 Toronto-Montreal fares would be the lowest available -- said he suspects Air Canada has another motive.
"I'm just bewildered. We haven't seen $69 fares ever since the demise of Canada 3000," said Michel Leblanc, the president and general manager of Jetsgo, which is launching service June 12.
"It doesn't add up. There's got to be a hidden agenda of some kind. I don't know what it is."
Jetsgo put its tickets on sale last week with a temporary two-for-one seat sale between Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Winnipeg and Vancouver. The airline will use three 160-seat Boeing MD-83s.
CanJet Airlines, a division of Halifax-based IMP Group Ltd., is expected to start selling tickets this week. IMP chairman and chief executive officer Ken Rowe has scheduled a press conference today in Halifax to provide details of the launch. Mr. Rowe has said the new airline will fly between Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax and St. John's on four Boeing B737 aircraft.
Air Canada's Tango has also introduced $94 one-way fares for travel through June 16 on Calgary-Winnipeg and Winnipeg-Edmonton flights. By yesterday afternoon, the seat sale fares were already sold out on most flights out of Winnipeg and on the Eastern triangle.
Air Canada spokeswoman Laura Cooke said Air Canada has not determined if it will have similar seat sales after Jetsgo and CanJet launch service. Air Canada maintains it has the right to match competitors' fares, but competition law prevents a dominant carrier from matching fares on a money-losing basis.
Copyright © 2002 The Globe and Mail
I hope that they don't hurt Westjet to much on the Western Triangle.