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Montreal should become gateway

March 15, 2010, Montreal - The chief executive of Air Canada says Montreal's main airport should grow to become a major gateway to Europe, Africa and French-speaking countries.


March 15, 2010
By The Canadian Press

Calin Rovinescu told the city's business leaders Monday that while Trudeau Airport will never overtake Toronto's Pearson, it has the potential for more traffic.

Last year, a total of 12.8 million passengers flew through the Montreal airport, six million though Air Canada. Since 2004, Air Canada's traffic through the city has grown by 25 per cent, while its capacity has increased by more than 18 per cent.

While Trudeau Airport's growth largely hinges on the state of the economy, channelling connecting traffic will be the key driver for it becoming a more important hub, Rovinescu said.

One-third of Air Canada passengers who fly through the airport begin their flights elsewhere. Air Canada's membership in the Star Alliance should help improve that number. For example, the recent addition of Brussels Airlines will increase traffic to Africa, which stands at just five per cent.

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Adding service to Lebanon could be a great opportunity since Montreal has Canada's largest Lebanese community.

Rovinescu said improving Montreal's standing as a hub requires better transit connections to the downtown.

He also decried airport rents, taxes and fees that add to the burden of flying through the city where Canada's largest carrier is headquartered.