Canada Jetlines celebrated its inaugural flight from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to Las Vegas, Nevada’s Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) on Thursday (Feb. 16) with a gate ceremony and a whirlwind, 24-hour press trip befitting the party capital of the U.S.
Las Vegas is the first of several new international routes Jetlines is poised to begin serving this year with non-stop flights from Toronto.
The inaugural Las Vegas flight was commemorated with a gate event at Pearson, with members of Jetlines’ executive team – including CEO Eddy Doyle and CCO Duncan Bureau – as well as media outlets and representatives from The Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority in attendance.
The ceremony kicked off with a ribbon cutting and brief remarks by Doyle, who thanked GTAA and the Las Vegas Tourism Board for their support.
Julien Carron, the GTAA’s associate director, air carrier service development, also delivered a short speech expressing enthusiasm for the GTAA’s partnership with Jetlines.
“This new route to Las Vegas is just the first of many new [Jetlines] destinations we hope to welcome in the future,” said Carron.
“This occasion is noteworthy because of an increased offering that we give to passengers…but it's also vital from an economic perspective for both Canada and the US as we grow tourism between the two nations,” Carron added.
Speaking to PAX, Bureau said Jetlines is proud of its comfortable onboard experience, which a small group of travel media had the chance to experience on the five-hour flight from Toronto to Las Vegas on Jetlines’ Airbus A320 aircraft.
“We took rows out of the aircraft to make more space for passengers,” explained Bureau. “We have power [outlets] in every seat; we have a streaming video system; we have a very attentive, professional, really strong crew.”
Doyle emphasized that service is one of the ways Jetlines’ aims to set itself apart from its competitors.
“This is a service industry – it’s highly technical and very complicated – but at the end of the day, it's still a service industry,” he said. “We have a great group of cabin crew that have been receiving great reviews on flights.”
After arriving in Las Vegas in the wee hours of Friday morning, travel media joined Jetlines’ executives in experiencing some of the city’s attractions before departing back for Toronto that night.
Brunch was hosted in iconic Venice-themed hotel and casino, The Venetian; while the Wynn – which also provided accommodation – hosted dinner at its Lakeside restaurant, which is known for its remarkable shows that combine light, water and sound.
The itinerary also included a ride on the High Roller at the Linq, which is touted as the highest observation wheel in the world, to enjoy sky-high views of Las Vegas.
The best is yet to come
Las Vegas marks Jetlines’ third non-stop route to begin service from Pearson, with the airline also currently offering flights to Calgary International Airport (YYC) and Vancouver International Airport (YVR).
“This is a developed market; this one is a no-brainer,” said Doyle, speaking to PAX about Jetlines’ decision to add Vegas routes, which will start at three flights per week from Toronto.
Jetlines is also set to launch non-stop flights from Toronto to Cancun in early March. “We announced Cancun and we're really excited about that. Sales are going really well,” said Bureau.
Melbourne still on the table
Flights to Melbourne, Florida, which were initially scheduled to begin this month as well, have been temporarily postponed.
“We're still very interested in going to Melbourne. It’s an important market for us,” said Bureau.
“We wanted to get aligned with all of the cruise partners that would make that route successful,” he added, noting that Jetlines is in talks with “all the major cruise lines” to offer packages.
“Some of our partners are on the Amadeus platform, so it didn't make sense for us to go there [Melbourne] until we were live on Amadeus,” explained Bureau.
Jetlines, however, debuted on both the Sabre Global Distribution System and Amadeus last week.
“The good news is, we’re now live on Amadeus. We just didn't have enough time to sell that route,” said Bureau.
Strong booking trends
Bureau added that travel advisors play an essential role in Jetlines’ strategy.
“When Eddy [Doyle] and I first started this, our very first position was that it was going to be really important to work with travel agents,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a big part of our distribution channel.”
Bureau said that Jetlines is already seeing strong booking trends through Sabre and Amadeus. “We’ve been received well by the travel agent community,” he said.
According to Bureau, Jetlines is planning to launch a number of new routes this year.
Although the specific details are being kept under wraps for now, the airline recently received approval from the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) to operate scheduled international service to the European community and its member states, as well as Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Lucia, so it’s a safe bet they’re among the destinations where Jetlines will begin flying in the coming months.