Skyservice Airlines has linked with Roots Canada, one of the country's best-known clothing brands, to form a new Canadian scheduled airline, RootsAir, which will start flying in November.

The two companies have agreed a marketing and branding alliance, with Roots Canada taking a 20% stake in the new airline, which will be operated by privately owned Toronto-based charter airline Skyservice (Flight International, 6-12 June). The move comes as part of a drive by several new and existing Canadian carriers to fill the void left by the merger of Canadian Airlines and Air Canada.

RootsAir's business plan calls for the airline to operate a fleet of leased Airbus A320s and A330s on services between Canada's major cities and to selected US destinations, beginning with Los Angeles. The airline will expand its fleet from the current five to 18 over a three-year period. All the airline's staff, from mechanics to pilots, will wear Roots clothing.

The new full-service airline is positioning itself between Air Canada and low-cost carriers such as WestJet. Although it will not operate the same frequencies as its rivals, three classes of fares will be offered at prices below the competition. Alliances and tie-ups with as yet undisclosed international carriers are also being negotiated.

"Our association with Roots brings us instant brand recognition," says Skyservice chairman Russell Payson. "We'll be doing a lot of joint promotions and RootsAir tickets will be sold at all Roots stores across Canada."

Source: Flight International