With 39% of British Columbians willing to drive to a U.S. airport for
direct access to overseas destinations, Transport Canada should get an
award from the Seattle Chamber of Commerce
VANCOUVER, June 13, 2013 /CNW/ - The Consumers' Association of Canada
(CAC) released polling today that shows B.C. air travellers are
flocking to U.S. airports to catch flights because of better access to
international destinations, putting further pressure on the Federal
Government to end its protectionist policy regarding access of foreign
carriers to the Canadian market.
"Canadian airports are woefully underserved by international carriers -
and that is not because international carriers are not willing to fly
here. Instead it is because the Federal Government has chosen
protectionism over consumer choice and competition. Now we are seeing
the logical outcome of that policy with British Columbians flocking to
U.S. airports to catch direct flights. It is a new form of
cross-border shopping driven by bad government policy," stated Bruce
The poll asked B.C. consumers to consider a scenario in which they need
to travel to an overseas city not served by a Canadian airline. Given
the choice of taking a flight from a Canadian airport to an
international connecting airport and then a second flight to their
ultimate destination, versus driving to a nearby U.S. airport that
offers direct service to the overseas city, 39% chose the latter
"There are countless examples of international carriers that want to
offer service to new destinations that are denied the right to fly to
Canada and then set up operations in northern U.S. cities to serve the
Canadian market, with perhaps no better example than Seattle.
Canadians are sophisticated consumers and you cannot force them into
making inconvenient travel choices when much better ones are within
driving distance across the border," added Cran.
The polling results come on the heels of several studies that have
looked at the number of Canadians driving to the U.S. to fly out
airports there. While many of those studies have suggested cost is the
motivating factor, the poll results show access to international
destinations is also critical. Canada is competing with the U.S. for
carrier and passenger traffic, and the U.S. has an open skies policy.
Many carriers that want to serve Vancouver have instead been forced to
fly to Seattle due to Federal Government access restrictions.
"It is ironic that some vested interests in Canadian aviation who have
argued so strenuously for continued protectionism are inflicting severe
damage on the Canadian airports that are at the heart of our aviation
system, aided and abetted by the Federal Government. When it comes to
aviation in Canada, you are truly entering the Bizarro World," stated
"Transport Canada should get an award from the Seattle Chamber of
Commerce for driving so much business to that city over Vancouver
through its policy of restricting access of foreign carriers to the
Canadian market," added Cran.
The CAC wants the Federal Government to adopt a far more aggressive
approach to air liberalization and allow foreign carriers that want to
service Canada to do so.
The polling was conducted between January 31 and February 4, 2013 by
Harris/Decima and involved telephone interviews with 1,015 Canadians.
SOURCE: Consumers' Association of Canada
For further information:
Bruce Cran, President, Consumers' Association of Canada