Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra led a National Summit on the Recovery of the Air Sector late last week.
The Summit brought together industry partners, including airports, airlines, industry associations, labour groups, consumer rights groups, and government departments and agencies to discuss critical issues facing commercial passenger air transportation and the future of the air sector in Canada.
Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, Randy Boissonnault and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Annie Koutrakis, also participated in the event.
Transport Minister Alghabra observed that: “The air industry was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as passenger volumes increased by over 280% last summer, the industry faced a new crisis of congestion and delays.”
And the Minister continued: “We came together over the summer to address those challenges and again today to discuss important lessons learned and the way forward in advance of the busy holiday travel season. From advancing digital technologies to enhancing passenger rights, we are working hard to find the right solutions for Canadian travellers—to keep air travel safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable into the future.”
The Air Sector Recovery Summit participants covered a broad range of challenges, strategies, and next steps to support a strong and resilient air transportation sector. Discussion topics included:
* COVID-19 lessons learned and challenges for the future
* Supporting digital transformation
* Managing costs and infrastructure
* Integrated management of services at airports, including through data management
* Transparency, accountability and passenger rights
Prior to the Summit, Transport Canada also invited a large number of air sector stakeholders to participate in an online survey to share their views.
Annie Koutrakis, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, noted that:
“We need to continue to work together to ensure our aviation industry fully recovers and Canadians have the air travel opportunities they require. It was our pleasure to meet with our country’s airlines, airports and other important stakeholders to discuss next steps to improve and grow this vitally important sector.”
The Summit and survey responses will inform the work of Transport Canada, along with other government and industry partners, as they develop approaches to support Canada’s air sector recovery and improvements in services for travellers. In the meantime, Transport Canada will continue to collaborate with partners to improve air transport system performance with a particular focus on the upcoming holiday season, and ensuring further improvements in advance of summer 2023 volumes.