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AIRLINES Jetlines


offerings to our customers. We’re not going to be offering the same thing to a passenger who is flying to Cancun with his family for a week as what we offer a passenger who is going to Toronto back and forth in a day.”


The right tools He is also confident that the two new aircraft the airline will launch operations with, and which have been bought from Air New Zealand, are the correct metal for the job.


“Bringing in aircraft that, if not new,


are in really good shape means you require less maintenance,” Suarez says. “The aircraft we’re bringing into our fleet are coming from Air New Zealand. They’re coming out of the maintenance shop so no maintenance – heavy maintenance – will need to be done for a long time, so that’s going to help us get higher utilisation a well.” He is also confident that attracting


and retaining staff to man its aircraft will not be a problem, despite admitting


he would not be able to pay them as much as his competition. He argues joining a start-up means there would be great promotion opportunities for the airline’s new starters, while the initial flying programme out of Vancouver will mean staff will mostly get to sleep in their own beds each night. Suarez believes previous attempts to set


up an LCC in Canada have failed due to factors including the wrong aircraft, attempting to beat Air Canada on service – which invariably causes cost issues for an LCC – or bad management teams. He is also ready to take on the market’s


low-cost competition in the form of WestJet-owned Swoop and Flair Air, adding: “We are in a much better position than the rest of the guys. Swoop is an airline within an airline – that has limitations we’ve seen in Europe and we’ve also seen LCCs fail in the US. Their costs are never going to be as low as ours. “Flair is not an LCC like us, starting from


A career on the up and up


Jetlines CEO Javier Suarez has held the role since last September when he was promoted from the position of CCO. He boasts more than 15 years’ experience in airlines and has held roles in most commercial functions, strategy and operations. He joined the Canadian


carrier from VivaAerobus where he was VP network planning, revenue management and e-commerce, and oversaw the growth of its fleet from 13 to 32 aircraft from 2014 to 2018. Prior to that he held a number of


senior roles at Vueling Airlines from 2010 to 2014 with his biggest role being director of network planning, scheduling, slots and corporate affairs. During that time the airline grew


in size from 38 to 105 aircraft, and Suarez is credited with launching more than half of the 400 routes operated at the time, which generated more than $2 billion in revenue. His CV also boasts employment both at Qatar Airways and Iberia regional AirNostrum.


36 ISSUE 2 ROUTES NEWS 2019 routesonline.com


Javier Suarez (right) was on stage at Routes Americas


scratch with the right ingredients. They’re transitioning from a charter airline to an LCC and they’re also having struggles.” Indeed such is his belief in his own plans and his team’s abilities, he is confident that in three years’ time people will be kicking themselves for not grasping the opportunity earlier. Suarez argues: “By that time people will have realised there was a clear opportunity for an LCC in Canada, you will see Jetlines flying all across Canada. I’ve launched more than 300 routes in my career, and we’re not going to be an airline jumping from the market and pulling routes.” However, he is not so confident about the future of his rivals, predicting Flair will have gone within the next five years while Swoop will find itself with its own set of problems.


“I have doubts that WestJet is going to maintain Swoop for a long time,” Suarez says. “They have the financial muscle to do it but [Swoop CEO] Steve Greenway understands that an airline within an airline has limitations. “The more we grow, the faster we grow,


the more trouble they are going to be in. Every airline has had an LCC at some point and they are going to struggle, as we are not going to make life easy. “At some point they are going to


realise there is nothing they can do to prevent us growing and they are going to focus more on WestJet passengers which is a big challenge as they are moving into Air Canada space. They’re going to have to make a call and a strategic decision as it’s difficult to tap into every passenger segmentation.” If the future does pan out as Suarez


predicts, no doubt this will provide him with another round of opportunities to prove the power of the LCC sector in Canada. 


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