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Low-cost airline NewLeaf strikes deal to offer even lower fares

Winnipeg-based carrier first to sign on with online bidding platform Jump On Flyaways

John Woods / The Canadian Press</p><p>NewLeaf president and CEO Jim Young isn’t opposed to Jump On’s business model: ‘As a new business, every dollar counts.’</p></p>

John Woods / The Canadian Press

NewLeaf president and CEO Jim Young isn’t opposed to Jump On’s business model: ‘As a new business, every dollar counts.’

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/7/2016 (339 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A Calgary businessman has come up with a way for you to get flights from NewLeaf Travel Co. for even cheaper.

NewLeaf, which is planning to offer ultra-low cost flights to travellers, is the first partner to sign on with Jump On Flyaways, an online bidding platform allowing potential flyers to bid on unsold plane tickets.

But if you win the bid, you better be prepared to pack your bags fast — you find out just 48 hours before take-off if you’re going.

'Typically, we (cost) 35 to 60 per cent less than the scheduled airlines'-- Roger Jewett, CEO of Jump On Flyaways

Roger Jewett, Jump On Flyaways CEO, said he founded the company in Calgary three years ago on a bit of a different model.

"Our initial business model was to use airplanes when they were idle and do weekend getaway flights," he said.

"We negotiated deals to access the planes when they were slow. Because they were slow, we got really great deals and we offered flights to the public."

But to keep prices low, the planes would only fly if the seats filled up. The company has done 18 flights over the last three years.

"Typically, we (cost) 35 to 60 per cent less than the scheduled airlines," Jewett said.

Jewett said he saw an opportunity with newly-launched NewLeaf, which is slated to operate flights using Flair Airlines planes starting next week, and tweaked his business model to fill up planes flying regardless.

"Twenty per cent of airline seats are empty globally and with a start up it’s even more difficult," he said.

"I thought of approaching them because they’re just getting started out and I thought they might be interested in an innovative way to fill up their planes and give people (a chance) to try out their service."

There are 11 routes up for bid on Jump On’s website. The company will then present bids to NewLeaf. NewLeaf can accept a bid at any time 48 hours prior to the flight. If the a bid is accepted, the bidder’s credit card is charged and they are issued a ticket. If you bid low and no one else bids, you could get the ticket up to 80 per cent off the set price.

"As a new business, every dollar counts," Jim Young, NewLeaf CEO, said in a news release. "We’ve been impressed with Jump On’s proven ability to activate aircraft and we’re confident their new bidding platform will result in significant new customer traffic and revenue for NewLeaf."

If you bid on a NewLeaf flight, you aren’t committed until a week beforehand. Jump On will send you an email asking for your credit card and passenger information, which will lock your bid in. If you win the seat and can’t go, you absorb the cost.

"A week before you need to commit, but at that point you can opt out by not filling out the form," said Jewett. "We thought, a week out, you’ll know if you can follow through."

As for expanding Jump On, Jewett said the company is having conversations with some smaller regional airlines, but the focus right now is its relationship with NewLeaf.

Bailey.Hildebrand@freepress.mb.ca

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