Business, Tourism, Airports Sectors Urge Canada to Conclude Open Skies Agreement with Europe

    A new, modern air service agreement seen to improve trade and tourism
    relations with Canada's second biggest business partner

    OTTAWA, Nov. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - An informal coalition of groups
representing the business, tourism and airports sectors today joined together
in a united call on the federal government to seek an Open Skies agreement
with Europe when it meets with European negotiators in Brussels starting
    Backing Open Skies are the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Tourism
Industry Association of Canada, and the Canadian Airports Council.
    "This agreement has tremendous potential for the Canadian economy," said
Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Perrin Beatty. "Building on the
strengths of our transportation system by strategically implementing Canada's
Blue Sky international air policy, greatly benefits both Canadian companies
and Canadians."
    "Giving travellers more options for getting to Canada will improve our
competitiveness as a destination in an increasingly global tourism
marketplace," according to TIAC President and CEO Randy Williams. "An Open
Skies agreement with the EU, Canada's second largest tourism market, makes
good economic sense."
    "Canada's airports are gateways to the communities they serve and see
tremendous potential for increased trade and tourism from an Open Skies
regime," said Canadian Airports Council President and CEO Jim Facette.
    At issue is a new air services agreement regulating commercial air
traffic between the European Union and Canada. An Open Skies regime between
Canada and the EU would replace individual bilateral agreements between Canada
and 17 individual members of the 27-member EU, which is Canada's second
biggest trading partner and source of tourists.
    An Open Skies agreement would allow any Canadian or European carrier to
operate between any points in the two markets. It would not allow domestic
service by a foreign carrier (known as cabotage) but would eliminate
restrictions on capacity, frequency and pricing.
    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.

    About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce

    The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the national leader in public policy
advocacy on business issues. Our goal is to foster a strong and competitive
economic environment that benefits Canada and all Canadians. As the only
national organization that speaks for more than 170,000 businesses from every
Canadian region, we have a powerful, articulate and persuasive voice for
business viewpoints nationally and internationally.

    About the Tourism Industry Association of Canada

    The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) is the national
private-sector advocate for Canada's $66.9 billion tourism sector. It performs
a unique and pivotal role in ensuring the Canadian business and policy
environment works for tourism, by communicating its importance to Canadians,
advocating positive measures, and lobbying government for action.

    About the Canadian Airports Council

    The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) is the voice for Canada's airports.
Its 47 members represent more than 180 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: Katie Anderson, Director, Communications, The
Canadian Chamber of Commerce, (613) 238-4000 ext. 231,;
Daniel-Robert Gooch, Director of Communications, Canadian Airports Council,
(613) 560-9302 ext 16,; Susan Wong, Manager,
Communications, Tourism Industry Association of Canada (613) 238-9400,

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