Media Releases

Air transport – Former Air Canada President & CEO Pierre Jeanniot argues in favour of open skies for Canada

Montreal, May 12, 2005 – Former Air Canada President & CEO and Director General Emeritus of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Pierre Jeanniot would like to see Canada moving towards the active opening up of its air transport market and pushing ahead with the liberalization process that began in the early 1980s.

In an Economic Note published today by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI), Mr. Jeanniot draws attention to the successful integration of the airline market within the European Union and urges the Canadian government, provided that reciprocal rights can be obtained, to remove its restrictions on “cabotage” – flights between Canadian cities on foreign airlines – and on foreign ownership of Canadian-based airlines.

Illustrative of some of the advantages enjoyed by European consumers since the liberalization of the European market are the sharp increases in the number of routes, in flight frequencies, and in available seats. Increased competition has also exerted downward pressure on fares, particularly in economy class where fares fell by 29% between 1992 and 2000.

The next stage: two scenarios

The document presents two alternative paths presently open to Canada, which would build on the success of the Open Skies Agreement signed by Canada and the United States in 1995.

“The next stage [could] be to seek total integration of aviation markets in North America as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or, alternatively, the opening of negotiations with the European Union to develop an agreement similar to what Europe has attempted – so far unsuccessfully – to obtain with the United States.”

But whatever the scenario adopted, concludes Mr. Jeanniot, Canada “should take every opportunity that comes up to negotiate an Open Skies type agreement with any country that already has a comparable agreement with the USA. It should also, at the appropriate time, offer similar reciprocal agreements to other liberalized parts of the world.”

Under the title: Towards open skies for airlines in Canada, this MEI document has been communicated to the Federal Minister of Transport and all Members of Parliament. It is available on the Institute’s Website.

– 30 –

Pierre Jeanniot was President and CEO of Air Canada from 1984 to 1990 and President and CEO of the International Air Transport Association from 1993 to 2002. He is available for media interviews.

Information and requests for interviews: Patrick Leblanc, Director of Communications, Montreal Economic Institute, Tel.: (514) 273-0969 / Cell.: (514) 347-4006 / Email: pleblanc@iedm.org

Back to top