Canadians to benefit from expanded air transport agreement with Saudi Arabia

OTTAWA, Dec. 28, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced that the existing bilateral air transport agreement between Canada and Saudi Arabia has been expanded. The amendments, which were recently negotiated during the ICAO Air Services Negotiation Conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, will give additional flexibility for airlines of both countries to determine routings and pricing, and allow them to respond to market developments more rapidly.

"This expanded air transport agreement will facilitate the movement of people and goods and will provide new business opportunities for Canada's air industry to the benefit of consumers," said Minister Lebel. "I am pleased to announce these amendments which allow airlines of both countries to introduce new direct services."

Under the expanded agreement, there is a fully open framework related to air services using the flights of other airlines, commonly referred to as code-sharing, which supports efforts by Canadian air carriers to expand services. In addition, the expanded agreement now includes dedicated cargo rights which will support trade links with Saudi Arabia.

"This expanded air transport agreement will support Canada's international trade objectives with Saudi Arabia, a priority country under the Global Commerce Strategy," said Minister Fast. "This will help Canadian companies to expand their business in that part of the world."

"Today's announcement is yet another example of how our government's broad and ambitious trade plan will benefit Canadian workers, exporters and businesses," added Minister Fast. "An expanded air transport agreement with Saudi Arabia supports Canada's trade objectives and helps our overall efforts to strengthen economic ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council region as a whole."

Canada's Blue Sky policy encourages long-term, sustainable competition and the development of new or expanded international air services. Under this policy, the Government of Canada has concluded new or expanded air transport agreements covering close to 70 countries, including:

  • Open Skies-type agreements with 16 countries: Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, South Korea, El Salvador, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Brazil, Honduras, Nicaragua, Sint Maarten and Curaçao;
  • Expanded agreements with 12 countries: Mexico, Japan, Jordan, Singapore, the Philippines, Morocco, Cuba, Egypt, Algeria, China, India and Saudi Arabia;
  • New "first-time" agreements with 11 countries: Kuwait, Serbia, Croatia, Panama, Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Qatar, Colombia, and Senegal;
  • A comprehensive air transport agreement between Canada and the European Union's 27 member states.

First-time agreements are new agreements with countries with which Canada previously had no bilateral air transportation relationship. Expanded agreements build on existing bilateral air transportation rights between two countries. Open skies-type agreements are very broad and include no restrictions in terms of capacity or cities to be served.

Additional and up-to-date information on the Blue Sky policy and its implementation can be found at:

SOURCE: Transport Canada

For further information:

Geneviève Sicard Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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