Prepared by: CAPA Centre for Aviation
September 28, 2015
This study reviews and discusses the relative costs and benefits of Canada’s international air policy and approaches to restricting and liberalizing international air access to Canada. The study reviews the literature and analyzes qualitative information and quantitative data to assess Canadian policy and practice and compare these to other international jurisdictions. It finds that since 2006, Canada’s balanced approach to determining the national interest seems to have emphasized Air Canada’s well-being as the starting point; from there, any relaxation of policy to allow foreign airlines added access has apparently been measured against its potentially negative impact on Air Canada’s existing, and potential, routes. This contrasts with the international air policies of most of Canada’s peers, where, consumer interests have been given a more prominent role in determining the shape of aviation policy, and of the national interest. The authors argue that Canada’s reticent approach to open skies is not a recipe for the future, and that Canadian consumers and the local economy are the ones bearing the cost of the current approach, and they conclude that there is significant scope for improving Canada’s accessibility both as a business and tourism destination.