After Just One Season, IMP Shuts Down CanJet Vacations
Open Jaw by Bruce Parkinson
Stephen K. Rowe.
hyper-competitive Canadian packaged vacation market has claimed another victim.
After entering the market late for the 2014/2015 winter season, CanJet Airlines
owner IMP Group has pulled the plug on CanJet Vacations.
has decided today we won't participate in this market segment going forward due
to the lack of profitability," CanJet Airlines President Stephen K. Rowe told
Open Jaw. “Our great staff did a wonderful job in setting up in short time this
revenue department of CanJet Airlines and although loads on aircraft were
respectable, pricing was a disappointment and we foresee no change in the
future if we continue with this effort; therefore our decision to exit."
In February, CanJet Vacations announced a summer program featuring 7
destinations in Mexico, Cuba and the D.R. The company also said it was in
advanced preparations for a 2nd winter season.
At the time, V.P.
Sales & Marketing John Kirk expressed optimism for the future:
“We are extremely pleased with our
progress so far and want to thank travel agents for all their support. We look
forward to their continued support for the summer and beyond and are committed
to providing a great product both in the air and in destination," Kirk said.
Less than 2
months later, CanJet Airlines had agreed to a wet-lease deal in Europe with the
planes CanJet Vacations would have used for its summer program. That left the
operator searching for lift, though CanJet Airlines said at the time that the
winter program would continue.
month went by before IMP made the decision to bail out of the ITC market.
It's an open question
as to whether CanJet Vacations ever really had a chance to prove itself. The
company was put together on the fly and the winter brochure wasn't released
until September – around the time other operators were winding up their early
really only started selling in October, and didn't get on major GDS systems
until that date or later. Pricing was competitive with others in this
notoriously low-margin business.
handicaps, agents told Open Jaw they welcomed the new entrant. Earlier reports
revealed that after a slow start, loads improved, but it clearly wasn't enough
to meet the privately-held IMP's margin expectations.
Industry partners “such as iTravel2000 and the many others who supported us in
this initiative." He said CanJet Airlines continues and “will try to carve out
other initiatives moving forward within the airline industry."
That likely won't
include a return to the packaged vacation business. It's an area that requires
a strong stomach and deep pockets, and while IMP has the latter, it clearly was
not willing to absorb early losses that future returns may not have justified.
The CanJet Vacations office will be closed and 7 staff members have been
given notice. One exception is V.P. Sales & Marketing John Kirk, who played
a key role in bringing CanJet Vacations to market. At this point he remains
employed by IMP Group, but his future role has not been announced.