On the eve of the busy summer season, OWG is looking for new partners after seeing its deal with Caribe Sol come to an end at the end of April. Despite everything, the Quebec air carrier sees the glass half full, since the turn of events did not have the effect of nailing its planes to the ground.
“They do charter flights,” says Marco Prud’Homme, president of Nolinor Aviation, OWG’s parent company. In Canada, there are fewer offers than there used to be. Airlines contact us for replacement flights. Not a day goes by that you don’t receive calls. »
The businessman says he does not know the precise reason that prompted Caribe Sol to opt for Transat A.T., with whom the Cuba package specialist has already done business in the past before calling on OWG in the summer of 2020. This decision however, seems to have taken the airline by surprise, which was born in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are already moves to “develop new destinations” with different types of potential customers, including tour operators, Mr Prud’homme said, adding that it doesn’t happen overnight.
“When we received a notice of end of contract, developing a new destination, it does not happen in 15 days, he says. You have to make agreements with the destination country and enter into agreements with hotels, for example. All of this takes time. »
Currently, OWG operates a fleet of three Boeing 737-400s and one Boeing 737-800. Nolinor specializes in charter flights to the Far North. Its subsidiary intends to take advantage of this expertise during the summer in addition to embodying an alternative solution for airlines faced with unforeseen events such as an aircraft immobilized due to a mechanical problem or a lack of personnel.
In this niche, OWG has already forged business ties with Sunwing, WestJet and Flair Airlines, among others. The Quebec carrier was also called to the rescue last December, during the holiday season, when activities were severely disrupted at several airports in the country – including Montreal-Trudeau – due to a winter storm.
Mehran Ebrahimi, professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) and director of the Observatory of Aeronautics and Civil Aviation, believes that OWG will be able to do well in the coming months. , until she finds new regular customers.
According to the expert, the unexpected will be inevitable during the summer. Also, not all carriers plan their flight schedules with enough flexibility, he adds.
“During the peak season, all airlines go to maximum capacity, but some don’t plan for contingencies,” Ebrahimi said. They operate the entire fleet and have no leeway, if, for example, an aircraft breaks down. This is where OWG may have work to do. »
The transition period in which OWG finds itself should also allow it to rethink its fleet. Mr. Prud’homme would like to bet more on Boeing 737-800s, which can accommodate up to 189 passengers in addition to covering longer distances (5765 km) rather than the 737-400s, which can accommodate 156 passengers each.
The carrier has also just put on sale one of the three models of this smallest version of the 737 family.