Canada begins negotiations with European Union on Blue Sky's first anniversary

    OTTAWA, Nov. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The first round of negotiations for an
Open Skies-type air transport agreement between Canada and the European Union
was announced today by the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport,
Infrastructure and Communities, and the Honourable David Emerson, Minister of
International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the
Vancouver-Whistler Olympics.
    "The European Union is Canada's second largest air transport market. That
is why we hope to conclude an agreement in a timely fashion, as indicated by
the Prime Minister at June's Canada-EU Summit," said Minister Cannon. "We will
soon be welcoming international representatives, several from EU countries, to
celebrate Quebec City's 400th anniversary and to host the Francophonie Summit
in Quebec in 2008. For these representatives and all travellers, this
agreement could mean more choices in terms of destinations, flights and
routes, and the potential for lower fares."
    Canada currently has bilateral agreements with 19 of the 27 European
Union member states. They are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic,
Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the
Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
    "Canada enjoys a dynamic trade relationship and close cultural ties with
the countries of the European Union," said Minister Emerson. "A new
liberalized air services agreement is a key building block for the kind of
stronger and deeper trade and investment links we are trying to build with the
EU into the future."
    Under a Canada-European Union agreement, Canada's air transport relations
with all 27 member states would be governed by a single regime. Signing a
comprehensive air services agreement would provide a framework to strengthen
the bilateral aviation relationship by opening new markets, especially in
Eastern Europe.
    These negotiations are in line with the Blue Sky policy introduced one
year ago today. The Blue Sky policy was developed to help Canada's air
industry continue to contribute to our country's growth and prosperity. It
reflects the evolving nature of the global aviation market.
    Since its launch on November 27, 2006, Canada has successfully concluded
Open Skies-type agreements with Ireland, Iceland and New Zealand. In addition
to the Open Skies agreements, Canada also concluded new or expanded air
services agreements with Croatia, Serbia, Japan, Kuwait, Jordan and Singapore.
    The Canada-European Union air market is large and mature. In 2006, with
more than 6.7 million one-way passenger trips, the European Union was Canada's
second largest bilateral air market after the United States.

For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700;
François Jubinville, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of
International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the
Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, (613) 992-7332; Media Relations, Transport
Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Trade Media Relations Office, Foreign Affairs
and International Trade Canada 613-996-2000,;
Transport Canada is online at Subscribe to news releases and
speeches at 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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