Flights In Canada Are About To Get Cheaper Like The US & Europe, According To An Expert

Discount airlines are changing the way Canadians travel. ✈️

An Air Canada jet coming in for landing at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).

An Air Canada jet coming in for landing at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).

Travellers looking for cheap flights in Canada might finally be in luck, thanks to increased competition in the country's airline industry.

For years, finding an affordable flight in Canada hasn't exactly been easy, with domestic trips costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but thanks to new lost-cost and ultra-low-cost airlines travellers now have more choices, and one expert believes that will drive prices down.

"More seats equals more supply and more supply usually will have a downward pressure on ticket prices," Robert Kokonis, the Managing Director of aviation advisory firm, AirTrav, told Narcity in an interview. "The next year and a half I think will be good from a passenger perspective because there's travel options and prices might work as well, too."

Kokonis' comments come in the wake of new ultra-low-cost carriers (ULCCs) like Canada Jetlines, Lynx Air and Play Airlines offering several flights around North America and Europe, many of which cost less than $100.

Those three have joined the likes of Canada's first and more well-known budget carriers, Flair Airlines and Swoop Airlines.

"In Canada, we didn't really have any of these ULCCs until Swoop came up," Kokonis said, naming geography and big distances between major city centers as the big challenges. "Some of the dynamics that worked south of the border maybe don't work as easily here."

"They (budget airlines) developed well in Europe and in the US you've got, Allegiant Air, Spirit Airlines, Frontier, Airlines, and Avelo Airlines. Europe has got their legion carriers."

After Canada's main five ULCCs, there's also Porter Airlines. The low-cost carrier's (LCC) new jets started flying out of Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) in February 2023, and the airline now offers service across Canada which will soon expand further into the southern US, Mexico and the Caribbean.

"I think you've got a fair amount of goodwill, or at least curiosity amongst the travelling public that have either only travelled them on occasion [...] or have never travelled with them. And maybe the timing is right," said Kokonis of Porter's expansion.

Whether you choose between the six budget airline options mentioned above or the other companies that have been around much longer, like Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat, and Sunwing, it's clear that Canadian travellers are ripe with options right now.

"It's just economics 101," said Kokonis on the eventuality of more cheap flights becoming available in Canada with all of these airlines in the mix. "If somebody flew to see their grandmother once every year, maybe they can afford to travel twice a year now."

And the timing couldn't be better, because as prices for flights drop, the demand for post-pandemic travel keeps on growing.

"I think by early next year, we'll be back to 2019 levels," said Kokonis, and explained that this is roughly three years ahead of what experts had originally predicted.

Stuart McGinn
Stuart McGinn was the Money Editor for Narcity Media and focused mainly on covering topics ranging from personal finance, to real estate, and careers. Stuart is from Ottawa and is now based in Toronto.