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Air Canada welcomes federal government plan to negotiate more Open Skies Agreements

Air Canada today welcomed the announcement that it intends to pursue more Open Skies Agreements with certain countries.


September 19, 2007
By Carey Fredericks

MONTREAL, Nov. 27 – Air Canada today welcomed the announcement by the federal government that it intends to pursue more Open Skies Agreements with certain countries, an approach long-advocated by Canada's flag carrier.

"We welcome Minister Cannon's new Blue Sky policy and his intention to negotiate more Open Skies Agreements with our most important aviation and trading partners," said Sean Menke, executive vice-president and chief commercial officer of Air Canada. "Air Canada and our customers have benefited tremendously from the Canada-U.S. Open Skies agreement which has resulted in more flights between both countries and additional options for our customers on both sides of the border. We look forward to the benefits such agreements with Canada's key aviation markets can yield.

"Air Canada has been supportive of a liberalization of Canada's international aviation agreements provided it is done on an equitable and reciprocal basis. We appreciate the Minister's recognition of this need for reciprocal benefits for Canadian carriers as a guiding principle in the negotiation of new Open Skies Agreements."

Menke added that as part of ensuring a level playing field, it is essential that the federal government also take meaningful action on the issue of unequal costs imposed on Canadian carriers by monopoly infrastructure providers, such as airport authorities. Last week, an independent study conducted by the Montreal Economic Institute underscored the competitive disadvantages faced by Canadian carriers resulting from some of the highest airport, security and fuel excise charges in the world.

"Air Canada can compete with any airline in the world and is anxious to do so. However, Canadian carriers face higher costs at home than foreign carriers in their home countries and this puts Canada's airlines at a
competitive disadvantage. The Montreal Economic Institute has provided the government with the competitive impact high costs have on Canada's carriers.

We call on Canada's new government to recognize this fundamental inequality that is harming Canadian travelers and Canadian businesses and take meaningful action to address the issue," said Menke.