Canada’s Nolinor Aviation has a long history of providing charter air services, mostly in the country’s far north. Now the company wants to bring its special sort of flying to leisure markets further afield, and under new branding. OWG – short for Off We Go – aims to operate flights to tropical destinations from September 2020.
Flying to your destination should be an extension of your vacation. Traditional airlines have cut the quality of their services year after year, without considering the passenger experience. Our goal is to win the hearts of travelers with a new airline whose mission is to make passengers fall in love with flying again.– OWG President Marco Prud’Homme
The carrier received its operating certificate from Canadian authorities this week and now will move forward with launching a route network and marketing its services. Flights will be operated on a fleet of 737-400s, but with retrofit interiors.
The 30+ year old aircraft are undergoing a heavy maintenance cycle, including installation of new seats (158 total on board). Nolinor recenly announced it would use the ultralight Expliseat TiSeat option, also flying on a handful of other airlines, for its fleet. It is not clear if OWG will opt for the pre-reclined or an articulated version of the seat.
Cabin sidewalls are also being refreshed, as are carpeting and galleys. The company is even splurging for LED mood lighting on board “to offer the best cabin ambiance during the entire flight.” The PA system is also receiving updates.
Unclear product positioning
Other than the seat manufacturer scant few details are available regarding the overall product concept. OWG (and Nolinor) President Marco Prud’Homme punted when asked if the company would pursue an unbundled/LCC approach to the market, stating, “We are not a Low cost or Ultra Low Cost, we are HIGH LOVE ! Giving love and caring for the passengers is our main focus and we will do this one passenger at a time.”
What exactly that looks like in terms of on-board amenities or ancillary fees is anyone’s guess.
A challenging market
Canada has no shortage of airlines vying for the tropical leisure market, though perhaps soon one fewer than before. Nolinor says the program launched in 2018, well before Air Canada announced its intentions to buy leisure operator Air Transat. But that reduced competition likely helps the upstart’s cause.
While not explicitly stated, it is possible that OWG will differentiate from the competition by operating from Mirabel airport outside Montreal where Nolinor is based.
Also somewhat interesting among the fleet is that one of the aircraft was previously owned by Flair, a Canadian ULCC operator that has seen plenty of challenges as it tries to ramp up operations. And Flair has three more of the 737-400s in storage, should OWG seek to expand.
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