Final low-cost Lynx Air flight takes off from Calgary on Sunday

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Passengers were left waiting — or grounded — after two out of three final Lynx Air flights were cancelled, and another delayed on Sunday.

Friends Austin Cutrara and Adam Paterson checked into their delayed Lynx Air flight from Calgary to Toronto on Sunday, not knowing it would be the airline’s last time to hit the skies.

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Calgary-based low-cost airline Lynx Air announced it would cease operations last week, citing financial pressures as one of the causes.

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With operations shutting down at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Lynx Air flights were expected to continue to operate as per usual through Sunday, but both a flight from Calgary to Las Vegas and to Vancouver were listed as cancelled.

Cutrara and Paterson visited Calgary over their reading break from school, for a couple of days of skiing and to skate on Lake Louise. Being students, they wanted to save money on airfare.

“Lynx is like a nice and affordable airline. We fly pretty light, we just take our backpacks, one bag, come here for the week,” said Cutrara.

Paterson said, “It’s good to fly on a budget, with it going though I know it’s tougher to do these trips.”

Prior to their trip, they had never flown Lynx before, but said the flight on the way into Calgary was good.

Another passenger on the delayed final flight, Zana Jento had her flight booked ahead of time, not knowing it would be the last.

“I guess I was surprised, I got the news while I was here (the airport),” Jento said. “My dad texted me, like, ‘Oh by the way, Lynx is shutting down tomorrow.’”

Lynx Air faced myriad of challenges

Lynx Air COO Jim Sullivan said in an earlier memo to staff that the closure was caused by compounding financial difficulties brought on by high inflation, fuel, capital and regulatory costs, coupled with adverse exchange rates and “competitive tension in the Canadian market”.

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Airline industry experts predicted in January that low fares brought on by heightened airline competition could spell the end of at least one of Canada’s ultra-low-cost carriers.

Launched in November of 2021 in Calgary, Lynx Air was meant to be a low-cost alternative to larger Canadian airlines. Their first flight took off in April 2022, and in Sullivan’s memo he claimed the airline boasted nearly two million passengers, with the year-over-year number increasing by 187 per cent in 2023.

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Despite the airline’s substantial growth, ongoing operational improvements, cost reductions and efforts to explore a sale or merger, “the challenges facing the company’s business have become too significant to overcome,” a press release stated.

The airline’s nine Boeing 737 Max 8s covered 23 destinations including most major Canadian cities and some U.S. locations, according to Lynx’s website.

Passengers with existing bookings with Lynx Air have been advised to contact their credit card company to secure refunds. Additional information for Lynx customers is available here.

With files from Brent Calver, Matt Scace and Scott Strasser

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