Has Canada got its aviation access settings right?

25 July, 2019

Travel and tourism – a key driver of economic expansion – hinges on the air access arrangements made between governments. Policy settings have to weigh up the provision of access opportunities for communities across the country, whilst balancing the interests of the established carriers.

A Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA), Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or Working Arrangement (WA) and their associated implementing procedures provide for technical cooperation between national civil aviation authorities. They help reduce duplication of activity and aim for mutual acceptance of certificates. In addition to airworthiness certification, BASAs, MoUs and WAs provide for bilateral cooperation across other areas of aviation, including maintenance, flight operations, and environmental certification.

Adding new agreements and expanding existing air transport relationships allows airlines to introduce more flight options and routes which benefits passengers and businesses by providing greater choice and convenience. These agreements form the framework to maintaining that balance between foreign operators and local airlines, and in the case of Canada are part of its Blue Sky policy, which encourages long-term, sustainable competition and the development of international air services.

Under the Blue Sky Policy, the Government of Canada has concluded new or expanded air transport agreements covering 106 countries, this month concluding new and expanded air transport agreements with Ecuador, Tunisia, Grenada and most recently Bahamas.

These all vary per country. The expanded air transport agreement with Ecuador allows designated airlines to operate more passenger and cargo flights per week to and from Canada. The agreement also allows designated airlines to serve any city in the other country's territory.

Similarly, the expanded air transport agreement with Tunisia allows designated airlines to operate more scheduled flights per week between Canada and Tunisia. But, the new agreement with Grenada is an Open Skies-type agreement, which allows an unlimited number of passenger and cargo flights between Canada and Grenada.

"Diversifying access to new markets is a priority for Canada. Air agreements are great tools that support business expansions and trade diversification, creating better opportunities and jobs for all Canadians," says The Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s minister of international trade diversification. But, some would say that Canada is not doing enough and is perhaps tipping the scales too much in its own operational favour, rather than opening the market to full economic benefits.

As one the discussion topics at the forthcoming inaugural CAPA Canada Aviation Summit, CAPA – Centre for Aviation will examine the current policy with an esteemed panel of aviation experts who will share their own views on Canada’s policy settings.

As the foremost authority on aviation in the world, CAPA – Centre for Aviation’s events provide cutting edge knowledge about strategic market trends and dynamics to help attendees make informed decisions, delivering the information and connections needed to inspire and improve business. The CAPA Canada Aviation Summit will take place in Winnipeg on 09-10 September 2019.

With an expected delegation of 250 senior executives from airlines, airports and industry suppliers, the CAPA Canada Aviation Summit extends CAPA’s event footprint further into the Americas. The Canadian market has for a long time been dominated by two incumbent players, but significant industry developments are going to change the competitive state of play.

Ambitious ULCC start ups are beginning to make their mark, new partnership arrangements such as the Delta and WestJet JV are set to challenge Air Canada’s share of sixth freedom traffic, and WestJet’s entry into the low cost long haul market is injecting some much needed dynamism to the market. The summit will tap into the latest industry issues and developments, challenging leaders of the Canadian aviation industry to reflect on what is needed to drive the industry forward.

This event, hosted at the Fairmont Winnipeg hotel in the vibrant heart of downtown Winnipeg, is a must attend for those seeking to learn from, network and collaborate with today’s travel industry leaders!