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Liberalized Air Agreement with Europe a Boost for Canadian Competitiveness

Dec. 9, 2008, Ottawa - The Canadian Airports Council today congratulates this government for the successful negotiation of a liberalized air service agreement with the European Union.


December 9, 2008
By Carey Fredericks

Dec. 9, 2008, Ottawa – The Canadian Airports Council today congratulates this government for the successful negotiation of a liberalized air service agreement with the European Union.  This landmark agreement, which contains achievable incremental targets for full Open Skies, will enhance Canadian competitiveness and provide greater choice for travellers and shippers.

"We are confident that the targets set for a full Open Skies agreement with the European Union are very achievable", said CAC Chairman Barry Rempel. He added, "In tough economic times, the competition for overseas tourists gets even tighter.  Liberalized air service agreements have proven to increase opportunities for trade and tourism, while promoting greater competition in the market and more choices for consumers."

The landmark deal, concluded after a series of negotiations in which two CAC observers participated, replaces a patchwork of bilateral agreements Canada had with 19 of the 27 EU member states. It allows any carrier from either market to operate direct service between anywhere in Canada and anywhere in the EU without restrictions on frequency, capacity, pricing or other artificial market barriers. It includes Open Skies for cargo.

More than half of Canada's overseas tourists hail from Europe. The EU also is Canada's second biggest trading partner after the U.S., with some $84.2 billion in imports/exports. According to a study from the European Commission, the number of passengers between the EU and Canada under Open Skies would increase from eight million to 14 million by 2011. In addition, the EC estimated that an Open Aviation Area would generate consumer benefits of at least $110 million through lower fares and could create 3,700 jobs in the first year.

"We look forward to a continued aggressive implementation of Canada's Blue Sky Policy, with the continued participation of the CAC and airport participation" said CAC President and CEO Jim Facette.  "As gateways to the communities they serve, airports are in the best position to ensure that these talks result in real opportunities for new air service and the trade and tourism benefits that result."

About the Canadian Airports Council

The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) is the voice for Canada's airports.  Its 48 members represent more than 180 airports, including all of the National Airports System (NAS) airports and most significant municipal airports in every province and territory. Together, CAC members handle virtually all of the nation's air cargo and international passenger traffic and 95% of domestic passenger traffic.  They create in excess of $45 billion in economic activity in the communities they serve.  And more than 200,000 jobs are directly associated with CAC member airports, generating a payroll of more than $8 billion annually.