Home » Industry » The Key to Solving COVID-19 Air Travel Challenges Is Collaboration

When Swoop took to the skies in June 2018, its ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) model was a relatively new and innovative concept in the Canadian air travel market. A few were offering no-frills air travel, but no one else was selling a $1 base fare before taxes.

In just two years of operation and with a mission to make air travel more accessible and affordable, Swoop has welcomed 2.5 million travellers on board with Canadians reaping the benefits of its ultra-low fares to the tune of $159 million in direct fare savings in 2019. Now, as the air travel industry weathers the single greatest financial impact in commercial aviation history, Swoop is using its challenger-brand mentality to find simple and innovative solutions to problems new and old.

As the pandemic rapidly impacted the demand for air travel, Swoop quickly pivoted by introducing the Swoop Sprint. This domestic through-flight network connects Canadians coast to coast, from Abbotsford, Edmonton, and Hamilton to Halifax and back at #FairFares. 

“We heard from our travellers that access to low-fare air travel remained critical during these unprecedented times, as there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to defining essential travel,” says Charles Duncan, Swoop President.

This adaptability and forward thinking are paying dividends as Swoop has released its summer schedule, which doubles the amount of flying in July and August from what it had been doing the two months prior.

Pivoting to meet demand

Faced with the question of how to support Canadian health care workers in the ongoing battle against COVID-19, Swoop put its creativity to the test again. With masks being mandatory in airports and onboard when a physical distance of two metres can’t be maintained, many travellers weren’t prepared to go through security with the required face covering. 

The beauty of a simple solution

Swoop took those two challenges and used them to solve each other, offering travellers the ability to pick up a disposable mask at check-in for a minimum suggested donation of $2 as well as donating $5 from every new travel booking in June to The Frontline Fund. This national organization provides funding for the supplies, support, and research that hospital foundations and health care workers need in the continued battle against COVID-19. 

“There’s nothing groundbreaking about this solution, which is the beauty of it,” says Duncan. “It was a simple solution with a small but meaningful impact, and all it took was collaboration and creative problem-solving. This is what we hope to do with airport partners in the coming months and years as the industry rebounds from the impacts of COVID-19.” 

Interior of a Swoop airplane

Innovating ULCC air travel

It’s with that spirit of collaboration and innovation that Swoop recently issued a request for proposal (RFP) seeking like-minded airport partners who welcome ULCC investment at a time when access to affordable air transportation options is essential for stimulating recovery in industries like hospitality, retail, and others who rely on access to travellers with savings in their pockets. 

The announcement of the RFP is intended to kick-start conversations with industry partners, collaborating in response to challenges new and old to find innovative solutions that stimulate economic recovery. 

Travel will rebound, and Swoop knows that its ultra-low fares will play a key role in giving more Canadians the option to travel and roam freely again when the time is right.

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