Both the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) applauded the recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications in its newly released report, entitled “One Size Doesn’t Fit All: The Future Growth and Competitiveness of Canadian Air Travel.” NACC president, George Petsikas observed that “the Senate Committee continues to be convinced of the urgent need to stop using the aviation industry to fill public coffers and start treating it as an engine that creates jobs and drives Canada’s economy, trade and tourism.” And Petsikas added, “Our member airlines are proud of their contributions to the economy but there is so much potential to do more. While the economic benefits of air transportation are significant and the sector supports over 400,000 Canadian jobs, the benefits could be much greater.” TIAC’s president and CEO, David Goldstein said that “the report clearly shows that the layers of taxes, fees and levies are hindering Canada’s tourism competitiveness. Airports and air travel should be treated as catalysts of economic activity, not opportune sources of public revenue. ” Goldstein continued, “Canada’s current aviation policy was developed almost two decades ago in a different historical context and has not kept pace with changes in global travel patterns.” In all, the senate committee offered seven recommendations in its report, some of which included: !!! Establishment of a National Air Travel Strategy that takes into account the particular needs of different regions. !!! Improvement of regional airport infrastructure to encourage economic growth. !!! The phasing-out of ground rents for ‘hub’ airports that are part of the National Airports System. !!! The transfer of federally owned airports in the National Airports System to the airport authorities that operate them. Implementing the recommendations would bolster the Canadian economy and the country’s tourism competitiveness by reducing fares and improving access. Implementing the recommendations would also curtail the leakage of Canadian passengers to US border airports, which results in the lost economic activity of up to 5 million passengers per year. On this last point, NACC’s Petsikas points out that “a strange paradox arises when we consider that the World Economic Forum consistently ranks Canada first in the world when it comes to the quality of our air transport infrastructure, yet millions of Canadians do not use our airports because of government taxes and policies. Canada, unfortunately, is inhibiting significant job creation.” For more, go to http://www.airlinecouncil.ca or visit http://www.tiac.travel .
ONE SIZE DOESN’T FIT ALL
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