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NACC welcomes senate competitiveness report

April 18, 2013, Ottawa - The National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) welcomed a federal government report supporting its position that air travellers are being unduly penalized by excessive taxes and fees that are making air travel more costly for Canadians.


April 18, 2013
By Carey Fredericks

The report, One Size Doesn't Fit All: The Future Growth and
Competitiveness of Canadian Air Travel by the Senate Standing Committee
on Transport and Communications, builds on earlier work of the committee
that concluded taxes and fees imposed on travellers and airlines are
making Canada's aviation industry uncompetitive.

The senate report includes the following key findings and recommendations:

  • Canada needs a single, cohesive National Air Travel Strategy to chart a new course to ensure competitive air travel in Canada.
  • The Government of Canada must stop treating the aviation sector as a source of public revenue and start recognizing the sector's ability to create jobs.
  • Airport rent should be eliminated.
  • Canadians continue to drive to U.S. airports to take advantage of lower airfares at an alarming rate.
  • The rules governing the use of foreign pilots should be strengthened.

"We note that the Senate Committee continues to be convinced of the urgent need to stop using the aviation industry to fill public coffers and start treating it as an engine that creates jobs and drives Canada's economy, trade and tourism. Our member airlines are proud of their contributions to the economy but there is so much potential to do more.  While the economic benefits of air transportation are significant and the sector supports over 400,000 Canadian jobs, the benefits could be much greater," said George Petsikas, president of the NACC.

As the Senate Committee recognizes, Canada's aviation sector faces serious challenges as the downloading of government taxes, fees and other charges on the aviation industry has resulted in Canada having the dubious distinction of being one of the least competitive jurisdictions in the world for air travel.

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"A strange paradox arises when we consider that the World Economic Forum consistently ranks Canada first in the world when it comes to the quality of our air transport infrastructure, yet millions of Canadians do not use our airports because of government taxes and policies.  Canada, unfortunately, is inhibiting significant job creation," added Petsikas.

Canada's large air carriers are working to keep government and airport costs down and fares affordable for our customers.  To that end, we are urging the government to adopt the Senate Committee's recommendation to develop a cohesive National Air Travel Strategy that reflects the realities of the industry today.