Canadian budget startup Lynx Air (DAT, Calgary) is to debut early next year with a fleet of three new B737 MAX on domestic routes, banking on pent-up demand for travel following COVID-19.

The Calgary-based airline - rebranded from charter carrier Enerjet (Y9, Calgary) - has firm orders and lease agreements in place for a total of 46 aircraft from Boeing over the next seven years to meet anticipated demand as travel rebounds, the company said in a statement. The first three B737 MAX will arrive in early 2022 to start off operations. As reported previously, its first B737-8, C-GJSL (msn 44312), rolled off the production line in January 2020.

Seasoned Australian aviation professional Merren McArthur has been appointed Chief Executive Officer and President of Lynx Air. She previously served as chief executive of ultra-low-cost carrier Tigerair Australia, Virgin Australia Regional, and was the founding CEO of Virgin Australia Cargo.

"We are excited to bring competition and choice to the Canadian aviation market at a time when Canadians are yearning for the opportunity to fly again, whether it be to see friends and family or to take a long-awaited holiday,” McArthur said. “We have created an ultra-affordable fare structure which is focused on simplicity, transparency and choice."

Lynx Air is a partnership between a group of Canadian investors and US low-cost carrier specialist Indigo Partners to transform Enerjet - a passenger charter carrier - into a low-cost airline. The company intended to relaunch by the end of 2019, but the grounding of the MAX and COVID-19 delayed that timeline.

Lynx Air will go head-to-head with Swoop (WO, Hamilton, ON) and Flair Air (FLE, Kelowna) in the ULCC segment of the Canadian market.

The Edmonton-based airline this week announced it was expanding its network with the introduction of its first Mexico service to Cancún and Los Cabos from Vancouver Int'l, Kitchener, Abbotsford, Ottawa Int'l, and Edmonton Int'l on February 1, 2022, aimed at sun-seeking budget-conscious Canadian holidaymakers. Flair also operates a fleet of eight B737-8s and three B737-800s, according to ch-aviation fleets advanced data. The airline intends to grow its fleet to 50 aircraft over the next five years.

Flair President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Jones previously told ch-aviation the Canadian domestic market could sustain about 200 narrowbody aircraft, the leisure market representing 30% or 70 aircraft. Canada is considered one of the world’s toughest markets for airlines due to high taxes, fees, and the costly requirement of a negative COVID-19 test for fully-vaccinated arriving travellers.