Canada’s airlines are definitely not pleased with yesterday’s (Nov 30, 2020) Fall Economic Statement delivered by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.
In a statement, the National Airlines Council of Canada’s (NACC) president and CEO Mike McNaney pointed out that: “As the government has stated on previous occasions over the past several months and repeated in the Economic Statement today, it is still working on establishing a process with major airlines regarding financial assistance.”
McNaney continues: “Thus, while other countries around the world moved forward months ago to provide sectoral support for airlines, Canada remains a global outlier and is ostensibly stuck at Stage Zero on the government planning process. This lack of action does not reflect the economic importance of the sector to Canada’s overall recovery, nor the need to ensure Canada’s largest carriers can continue to compete internationally.”
NACC’s boss writes: “Due to the pandemic Canada has lost an astounding 85% of its air connectivity, with flights significantly reduced or eliminated in every region of the country as carriers take every measure possible to preserve finances and remain in operation.”
He observes that: “While we note the government has affixed a $206 million budget to its support for regional air transportation, the government has yet to provide details of the new Regional Air Transportation Initiative and how such an initiative will, in practice, support the continued existence of regional air services.”
McNaney’s statement continues: “NACC members have spent years and invested billions of dollars building regional and international networks to create the level of connectivity needed to support hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country and in every sector of the economy. Those jobs and investment are now being eroded, as is Canada’s ability to establish an overall path to recovery.”
And he points out that: “In addition to urgently addressing liquidity, we need the federal government to rapidly move forward with a clear and effective testing regime at airports to support the continued safe restart of the sector and address border and travel restrictions. NACC members and our airport partners have launched testing programs in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver to enable science-based and data-based decision making concerning quarantine and testing measures.”
He also notes that: “Governments around the world have provided their domestic aviation sectors approximately US$173 Billion in support, precisely because a healthy aviation industry is critical to overall economic recovery. We have also seen countries such as the United Kingdom embracing a science-based approach to testing and reducing quarantine measures.”
McNaney says that: “As other countries continue to provide a clear path forward, now that the Fall Economic Statement has been issued it is time for the federal government to follow the global approach and move urgently to finalize Canada’s path to supporting financial assistance for airlines, and in turn ensure aviation can support Canada’s overall recovery. Hundreds of thousands of jobs in communities large and small across the country, will be impacted by how the government proceeds.”
The National Airlines Council of Canada represents Canada’s largest national and international passenger air carriers, including: Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP and WestJet.
Collectively, its member airlines carry over 80 million passengers annually, directly employ over 60,000 people and are a critical component of Canada’s overall air transport and tourism sector which supports more than 630,000 jobs.
Go to www.airlinecouncil.ca for more.