Canada's Airports Applaud EU Air Talks Progress



    Canada-EU Open Aviation Area would be good for Canadian trade and tourism

    OTTAWA, June 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Airports Council today
applauded the federal government's progress with European Union on talks as
early as this fall on a new air regime across the North Atlantic. Reforms to
the air regime with Canada's second biggest trade and tourism partner -
ideally an Open Skies type Open Aviation Area - will be good for Canada, the
group says.
    "As the federal government prepares to hear from industry on coming talks
with the European Union this fall, Canada's airports say to the government
what we've been saying for quite some time. Open Skies with Europe is good for
Canada," said CAC President and CEO Jim Facette, who was commenting on a joint
Canada-EU statement issued from the Canada-European Union Summit earlier
today.
    Over the coming months, Canada's airports will engage with the government
as it consults industry on the upcoming talks. Airports also will seek
representation at the talks themselves.
    "Canada's airports have a unique responsibility to the communities they
serve and pledge to actively engage with the government on its EU plans over
the coming months and in the talks that follow," said Mr. Facette.
    Airports have participated in air service talks before. In 2005, airport
representatives played a critical role in the quick negotiation of an Open
Skies agreement with the United States.
    The EU is Canada's second biggest trading partner after the U.S., with
some $70.1 billion in imports/exports. Traffic between Canada and the EU has
doubled between 2000 and 2005 and the EU is Canada's second largest source of
tourists. More than half of Canada's overseas tourists hail from Europe.
    While Canada recently signed an Open Skies agreement with Ireland, an
Open Aviation Agreement with the European Union actually would replace
individual bilateral agreements between Canada and the individual members of
the 27-member EU. As many of Canada's other bilateral agreements with
individual EU members contain heavy restrictions, an Open Aviation Agreement
also would liberalize Canada's air regime with all of the EU's 27 member
states in one shot.
    According to a study launched by the European Commission, the number of
passengers between the EU and Canada would increase from eight million now to
14 million by 2011. In addition, the EC estimates 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.
    "The federal government has heard the call of Canada's airports to take a
new approach to international air policy," said Mr. Facette. "It is
encouraging that the prime minister and his EU counterparts have acknowledged
the importance of modernising our air links by setting an ambitious timetable
for talks. Canada's airports are committed to help make these talks a
success."
    The CAC also commended the government's progress on a bilateral European
Community-Canada Air Safety Agreement, also mentioned in the joint statement.

    About the Canadian Airports Council

    The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) is the voice for Canada's airports.
Its 45 members encompass more than 150 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 well in excess of $30 billion in economic
activity in the communities they serve. And more than 150,000 jobs are
directly associated with CAC member airports, generating a payroll of more
than $8 billion annually.




For further information:

For further information: Daniel-Robert Gooch, Director of
Communications, Canadian Airports Council, (613) 560-9302 ext 16,
daniel.gooch@cacairports.ca


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