The Blue Sky Policy: Made in Canada, for Canada
On November 27, 2006, the Blue Sky Policy was officially adopted by the Government of Canada. Since its inception, the Policy has become an important vehicle to promote connectivity between all Canadian regions and the world. It has also provided Canadian consumers with more choices in terms of destinations and number of direct flights.
The Blue Sky Policy calls for a proactive approach to the liberalization of air transport agreements (ATAs). The policy promotes the negotiation of Open Skies-type agreements when it is in Canada's overall interest to do so, but also recognizes that in some instances an incremental approach to liberalization is preferable (for example, in markets where there are concerns about Canadian airlines being able to compete on a level playing field, or where the introduction of new services would risk destabilizing other, established, services that are valued by Canadian communities).
Achievements under the Blue Sky Policy: A Snapshot
Since November 2006, Canada has concluded new or expanded ATAs covering over 90 countries. As of September 2016, Canada has concluded open agreements with 46 countries that cover approximately 70 percent of Canada’s international passenger traffic. Currently, over 98 percent of Canada’s overall international passenger traffic is covered by ATAs that are either open, or contain sufficient capacity to meet current or foreseeable demand. Since 2006, the number of bilateral partners has gone from 73 to 115 (58 percent increase).
- Open Skies-type agreements, which have, for example, no restrictions in terms of capacity or cities to be served, with 18 countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Brazil, Costa Rica, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guyana, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Sint Maarten, South Korea, Switzerland, and Trinidad & Tobago.
- Expanded agreements, which build on existing bilateral agreements, with 21 countries: Algeria, Australia, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa and Turkey.
- New first-time agreements with 25 countries: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, the Gambia, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Macedonia, Mali, Nigeria, Oman, Paraguay, Qatar, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tunisia and Uruguay.
- A comprehensive ATA between Canada and the European Union’s 28 member states (including Ireland and Croatia).
Looking into the Future
Canada will continue to negotiate new ATAs and expand existing agreements to promote the interests of Canadian consumers, stakeholders, as well as our trade and tourism sectors. Liberalization of our ATAs will continue to support a range of federal government initiatives such as the Global Markets Action Plan and the Federal Tourism Strategy.
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