NewLeaf airline launched at the Saskatoon airport Wednesday to much fanfare.
The discount airline offers flights to and from Kelowna, B.C and Hamilton, Ont. twice weekly.
The first 50 passengers who arrived on the flight from Kelowna were greeted with cheers and cupcakes.
“To be able to fly direct from Kelowna and be here in one and a half hours, it’s awesome,” passenger Wendy Carnegie said.
The Saskatoon woman paid $130 for the flight, but before NewLeaf she was paying around $300.
“I go to Kelowna three to four times a year, so it will help me go more times,’ Carnegie said.
NewLeaf’s low price only covers the seat — everything else, like baggage and even a cup of coffee, costs extra.
“Lots of people don’t want that on a short flight,” Carnegie said.
A University of Saskatchewan student was jumping with excitement for the new airline.
“I wouldn’t be able to fly home right now without them,” Julia MacDonald said.
The business student is headed home to Hamilton for a month to surprise her mother.
“I’m on a fixed income and only work part time, so NewLeaf was the big determining factor,” MacDonald said.
The flight that came out of Hamilton to Saskatoon Wednesday morning was 91 per cent full.
“That’s unheard of for a first-day operation in the airline industry,” CEO of NewLeaf, Jim Young said, adding that he’s proud to give Canadians a cheap alternative to fly.
“We pay way too much for things in this country,” Young said.
“It’s time somebody stood up for the consumer and say ‘this isn’t reasonable anymore.'”
Plans for NewLeaf to fly to other markets out of Saskatoon are in the works.
“We’ll probably start with winter destinations first, then in the spring we’ll look to add more destinations beyond Hamilton and more cities in British Columbia,” Young said.