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New low-fare airline takes off with flights from Edmonton to Toronto, St. John's

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The first flight of Edmonton's newest low-cost airline took off early Thursday morning.

Starting Thursday, Calgary-based Lynx Air will offer five flights per week from Edmonton to Toronto, which will continue onto St. John's, N.L.

The schedule will be expanded July 20 to daily flights from Edmonton to Toronto, with additional flights to Halifax, N.S.

Lynx Air and Edmonton International Airport officials celebrated Thursday's 7a.m. flight to Toronto with a pre-boarding ribbon cutting ceremony.

"We see there is a huge opportunity here in Canada to transform the aviation landscape. Air fares have been too high for too long, and that means that there are people who can't afford to travel as much as they like and in some cases not at all," said Lynx Air CEO Merren McArthur, explaining the company's name was inspired by the predator found in Canada and is a play on words.

"We want to be the airline that links Canadians to their favourite people and places."

McArthur, the former CEO of three different Australian airlines, promised Lynx Air can keep its prices low by flying the more fuel-efficient Boeing 737s and offering a pricing model that allows customers to select which flight options they want to pay for.

She said a current seat sale is meant to attract customers, but that the airline will seek to bring them back because of its customer service, which will prioritize clear communication and minimal cancellations.

Lynx Air's prices are what attracted its first Edmonton customers on Thursday.

"For three of us, we got a pretty good deal for flights. Cheaper than anyone else," Kevin Walsh, an Albertan of 20 years, told CTV News Edmonton.

He and his sons were flying to Newfoundland to visit his mother, something he hopes will happen more frequently with an increase in low-fare choices.

"It was too expensive before. Five, six, seven thousand dollars just for a couple of flights. And now it's way cheaper. I think it cost us $2,000 for three flights, three tickets. So that's way cheaper," he said.

Darlene Fitzpatrick, too, was flying to Newfoundland with her granddaughter.

"I was astounded by the prices. You can't compare it to any other airline right now," she said.

The through flights to Newfoundland will make a stop in Toronto, but passengers will not have to leave the plane during the stop.

If the original three routes are successful, McArthur said Lynx Air would "certainly be looking to expand our network here."

Lynx Air also flies out of Calgary, Winnipeg, and several locations in B.C. and Ontario.

When it launched in 2021, it had lease agreements in place for 46 aircraft by 2028.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Nicole Lampa 

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