44% of Ontarians willing to drive to a U.S. airport for direct access to
OTTAWA, June 4, 2013 /CNW/ - The Consumers' Association of Canada (CAC)
released polling today that shows Ontario 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 Ontarians flocking to U.S.
airports to catch direct flights," stated Bruce Cran, President.
The poll asked Ontario 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, 44% 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 Seattle and Detroit notable examples. 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 of
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
"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
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