Discount airline Swoop launches with $0 base fare promo

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WestJet’s new discount airline is setting the bar sky-high for its debut, with the promise of $7.50 one-way flights between B.C. and Ontario.

Swoop is offering the $7.50 flights between Abbotsford, B.C., and Hamilton, Ont., for customers who book before Feb. 4. The offer comes with a number of blackout dates and restrictions, but it essentially amounts to a $0 base fare, plus taxes and fees, according to the airline. Other one-way sales on the site include $37 for a flight from Hamilton to Halifax, $39 to go from Edmonton to Abbotsford and $41 to go from Halifax to Hamilton.

Swoop’s website says 500 seats are available at the $0 base fare from June 20-Sept. 4, and another 1,500 are available from Sept. 5-Dec. 13.

“This is about more competition, more choice and lower fares for Canadian travellers,” Bob Cummings, WestJet’s executive vice president of strategy and head of Swoop, said at a news conference in Hamilton Thursday.

The ultra-low cost airline will launch this summer, with flights operating out of Abbotsford, B.C., Winnipeg, Man., Edmonton, Alta., Hamilton, Ont. and Halifax, N.S. Most regular one-way fares will cost $99, with certain shorter flights listed at $69 or $39 for a one-way ticket.

Cummings says the airline is targeting millennials and “the price-sensitive traveller who is looking for more value.”

Swoop says it will be announcing new routes over the next several months. It also expects to hire approximately 500 individuals over the next year.