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The Montreal Economic Institute supports Transport Canada’s new “Blue Sky” policy

Montreal, November 27, 2006 – The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) welcomes the new “Blue Sky” policy on international air transportation unveiled today by the Canadian Minister of Transport Lawrence Cannon. “It’s an important step towards a more globally open air transport market,” says the former head of Air Canada and IATA, Pierre Jeanniot, who authored two studies on this issue as an MEI Senior Fellow.

Mr. Jeanniot points out that the new policy clearly demonstrates the desire of the government to be more pro-active in its pursuit of Open Skies agreements. The new policy is more ambitious in that it will seek at the outset of each bilateral discussion so-called “fifth freedom” rights, whereby an airline is allowed to pick up passengers in another country and fly them to a third country. The MEI Senior Fellow is also pleased to learn that the government will from now on be guided not only by the priorities of the airlines, but also by the interests of the airports which in the past have often complained of being overlooked.

The document issued by Transport Canada indicates in its list of guiding principles that Canadian carriers must be able to compete in international markets on a level playing field. With this in mind, Pierre Jeanniot expresses the hope that the government will take into consideration the excessive levels of airport rents, fuel taxes and security charges which heavily burden Canadian operators and places them at a disadvantage in comparison to the United States. Last week, the Montreal Economic Institute issued an Economic Note arguing that in a context of growing liberalization of airline markets, this excessive burden on Canadian companies threatens their competitiveness.

Mr Jeanniot will be available for interviews.

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Information and interview requests: Patrick Leblanc, Director of Communications, Montreal Economic Institute, Telephone: (514) 273-0969 (office) / (514) 571-6400 (cell) / E-mail: pleblanc@iedm.org

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