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NewLeaf takes flight

NewLeaf takes flight new ultra low-cost travel service has officially landed in Winnipeg.

The first NewLeaf flight arrived in the city Monday.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm to bring a low-cost airline to Canada, which we could use,” said Caroline Newton, one of the first passengers off the plane, who estimated she saved about $200 on her flight.

Newton noted she was hesitant to book with a brand-new air carrier but would “absolutely” do so again.

“I wasn’t sure it was actually going to happen. So we sort of had our fingers crossed this morning,” said Newton. “I know there had been a lot of delays, there were regulatory issues.”

Jim Young, CEO of NewLeaf Travel, said his company is now celebrating a few successes after months of “challenges.” 

“Today we’ve made history in Canada. There is now an ultra low-cost air travel option for Canadians,” said Young.

NewLeaf sold out two flights in its opening week and more than 16,000 tickets, exceeding its targets, said Young.

One-way tickets to a choice of 11 cities are expected to cost between $79 and $249, including most taxes and fees, except baggage costs.

And while some reports estimate about 18 new Canadian airlines have failed in the past 25 years, many believe the investment NewLeaf secured improves its odds.

“The model of ultra low-cost carrier is absolutely solid. It’s whether people have enough money to sustain the model, that is always the question,” said Barry Rempel, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Airports Authority.

Young said his company has attracted all of the capital it needs, so customers should feel secure booking flights.

“There should be no concerns whatsoever. We are very well-funded,” he said. read more at