Canada's new government delivers greater Air Travel choice through Open Skies agreement with the United States



    OTTAWA, March 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister
of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and United States (U.S.)
Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters, today announced that the Open
Skies agreement between Canada and the U.S. has now come into force.
    "Canada's international air policy encourages the development of new
markets, new services and greater competition," said Minister Cannon. "For
travellers, this means more choices in terms of destinations, flights and
routes."
    "By opening the skies with our closest friend and one of our strongest
trading partners, we will give businesses new freedom to compete and
travellers new conveniences to get where they need to go," said Secretary
Peters. "Our new aviation relationship will stimulate stronger partnerships,
innovation, more choices and lower prices - to the benefit of both our
countries."
    The new Open Skies agreement will enable Canadian passenger and cargo
carriers to use the larger U.S. market as a platform to serve a third country
and vice-versa. Other potential benefits include the development of new
markets, new services, lower prices, and greater competition.
    The 1995 air services agreement between Canada and the United States
created an open regime for air services between both countries. There were,
however, constraints regarding air services between each other's territory and
a third country. The Open Skies agreement removes these restrictions.
    The new agreement is in line with the recently announced Blue Sky policy,
which was developed to help the air industry continue to make a significant
contribution to Canada's growth and prosperity.

    
                                 Backgrounder
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                 OPEN SKIES AGREEMENT WITH THE UNITED STATES
                 -------------------------------------------

    The Canada-United States (U.S.) air transportation market is unique in the
world. The Open Skies agreement between the two countries is expected to
provide more opportunities for better air services, increased flight options,
greater efficiencies for airlines, increased competition and reduced prices
for consumers.
    Scheduled air services between Canada and the U.S. were previously
governed by the February 24, 1995 air transport agreement, which provided
substantial benefits to travellers, shippers and the air transport industries
of both countries. Following implementation of the agreement, the Canada-U.S.
air transportation market experienced rapid growth.
    While the 1995 agreement provided open access between the Canada-U.S.
markets, it restricted Canadian and U.S. air carriers' access to each other's
international markets.  For example, except in very limited instances, a
Canadian carrier could not pick up traffic in the United States and fly to
another country.
    In recent years, many stakeholders in Canada identified an expansion of
the Canada-U.S. agreement as a priority. In 2005, Canada and the U.S. agreed
that discussions on further liberalization of the 1995 agreement were timely.

    Under the Open Skies agreement, air carriers of both countries will be
able to:
    - pick up passenger and/or all-cargo traffic in the other partner's
      territory and carry it to a third country as part of a service to or
      from their home territory;
    - operate stand-alone all-cargo services between the other partner's
      territory and a third country; and
    - offer the lowest prices for services between the other partner's
      territory and a third country.

    The liberalized agreement does not permit a U.S. carrier to carry domestic
traffic between Canadian cities or vice versa, a practice known as cabotage.
    Transport Canada estimates that the Canada-U.S. air transportation market
generated approximately 19.8 million passengers in 2005, making it the largest
international air transportation market in the world.
                                                                 March 2007
    




For further information:

For further information: Natalie Sarafian, Press Secretary, Office of
the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613)
991-0700; Lucie Vignola, Communications, Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613)
993-0055; Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news
releases and speeches at www.tc.gc.ca/listserv/and keep up-to-date on the
latest from Transport Canada; This news release may be made available in
alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.


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