ATAC welcomes Prime Minister's intent to negotiate Air Services Agreements with EU

    OTTAWA, June 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The Air Transport Association of Canada
today welcomed Prime Minister Harper's announcement that Canada intends to
begin negotiations on a comprehensive Air Services Agreement with the EU.
    "Europe is one of the largest aviation markets in the world and Canada's
airlines have been calling on the government of Canada to prioritize this
relationship for some time now", said ATAC President and CEO, Sam Barone.
    ATAC supports the growth of more liberalized international air service
agreements, which offer meaningful and strategic opportunities for Canadians
travelers and shippers, alike. "The best way to grow aviation services for the
benefit of all Canadians is to focus on large markets, which offer the
greatest opportunities for investment in new services by Canada's airlines",
continued Barone.
    International Air Service Agreements are government-to-government
exchanges of economic rights, assigned to airlines so they can make the
necessary investments to offer new service options to their customers. As
such, ATAC urges the government of Canada to ensure that the priorities of its
airlines are at the heart of its negotiating priorities.
    "Canada's airlines are ready to take on the world and they are uniquely
positioned to turn Canada into a true international aviation powerhouse",
stated Barone. "To do that, however, we need the government to improve the
international cost competitiveness of Canada's aviation industry", continued
    For Canada to become a prominent hub in international aviation,
government must reverse some troubling trends:

    - Canada's airports are amongst the most expensive in the world;
    - Canada's Aviation Fuel Excise Tax is almost four times the rate of that
      in the United States; and,
    - Canadian travelers continue to pay some of the highest security fees.

    The federal government continues to treat its aviation industry as a
source of ongoing short-term revenue, with over half a billion dollars drained
annually from the system through its airport rent charges, the Fuel Excise Tax
and the Air Traveler Security Charge. "ATAC supports the goals of this
government's Advantage Canada strategy to improve the international
competitiveness of Canadian business", continued Barone. "But Canada will
never become a leader in international aviation without improving its cost
competitiveness and leveraging the strength of its airlines to drive traffic
growth to Canada", he concluded.

For further information:

For further information: Fred Gaspar, Vice President, Policy and
Strategic Planning, (613) 233-7727 (ext) 314; La version française est

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