A VERY interesting article for you guys from the financial post:
Roots Air rethinking fleet, service plans
Undecided about A330: 'Evaluating all routes, the aircraft ... and the service'
In the face of a tough domestic market, Roots Air appears to be retrenching by re-evaluating its fleet plans and on-board service.
The Toronto-based airline, launched a month ago amid much fanfare, admitted yesterday it is undecided about whether to add a large, 316-seat Airbus A330 to its fleet of four smaller jets.
It is also reassessing its offering of three different types of service, which have scored high satisfaction levels with travellers, but are costing the carrier substantial amounts of money because it has been unable to fill its planes.
"Bearing in mind that we are a new carrier ... we are evaluating all routes, the aircraft that we've got on routes and the service we are providing," said Brock Stewart, a spokesman for the airline.
"It's an evolutionary process and we're prepared to do whatever is necessary to remain competitive and react to the needs of our customers."
Although Mr. Stewart said loads have been steadily improving, Roots has been struggling to fill its planes. The company has run two deep seat sales since launch and is offering tickets at less than half their regular prices.
From the outset, the Roots business plan to lure higher-paying travelers with extra amenities has been regarded skeptically by industry watchers because of doubts a sufficient market exists.
Several industry sources said yesterday delivery of a new A330 airplane that was to fly the Toronto-Vancouver route has been deferred or cancelled and a class for flight attendants to work on the plane has been postponed.
Mr. Stewart said Roots Air's parent, SkyService Airlines Inc., is still taking on new, leased A330s, but it is no longer certain any will be assigned to Roots.
Sources also said Roots will drop its mid-level Silver Class service on May 1, but Mr. Stewart denied this.
"There has been no change as of today in terms of the service we offer in the three classes of service," he said.
Regardless, Roots is already moving away from its original business plan, which called for the carrier to fly five planes, a mix of 168-seat Airbus A320s and A330 jets, by the end of the first year. In the second year, it was to add six more A320s.
But Mr. Stewart said the carrier has been forced to respond to changes in the industry. Most significantly, Canada 3000 purchased Royal Aviation and CanJet Airlines recently and this month it unveiled a heavy domestic flying schedule complete with a new business class.
For example, on the key Toronto-Calgary route there are at least 21 flights a day during the week, including WestJet, which will begin flying from nearby Hamilton, Ont., this summer.
"With the changes in the market, we're evaluating everything at this stage in order to address the competitive environment we find ourselves in," he said.
I Would really REALLY love to see Roots Air flying its A330, what do you guys think?!?!?!