The members of the crisis on the regional air transport will make a tour of the carriers, such as Pascan Aviation, which already serves the East-of-Québec.
7 July 2020 21: 10
First it was a productive meeting for the crisis cell on the regional air transport
At the end of its first virtual meeting, Tuesday, the crisis unit on the regional air transport has shown eight conditions of success to the minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, who took part in the meeting. According to the partners of the cell established on 2 July, the day after the announcement of Air Canada to indefinitely suspend several routes in the region, these conditions are essential to the survival of regional air transport in Québec.
The chairman of the committee on air transport of the Union of municipalities of Quebec (UMQ) and the mayor of Gaspé is come out strong, confident. “The good news of the day, it is the discussion that we had with the minister Bonnardel, in addition to having managed to unite the forces of plenty of instances in Quebec, is pleased by Daniel’s Side. We had a huge opening by the minister Bonnardel. In short, it’s going well. It’s going better than last week!”
The crisis unit is composed of different agencies, or the Alliance of the tourism industry in Québec, the Conseil du patronat du Québec, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, the quebec Network of airports and the Union of Quebec municipalities. The first objective of the meeting was to coordinate the efforts of each to “everyone rowing in the same direction, rather than shoot everywhere and that everyone has his “magic bullet”, according to Mr. Côté.
Conditions of success
The eight conditions presented to the minister Bonnardel go to the repayment of the amounts owed by Air Canada to customers in support of a new service, through the compensation of losses incurred by the airports. “In short, we did a tour quite complete folder and there, it sets the table,” says Mr. Côté, who is also the first vice-president of the UMQ. The cell also plans to challenge the federal government.
“To financially support the consolidation of the operations of regional air carriers,” such is the statement of the first condition. “All alone, without the support of the government, we will not make it, said the chairman of the committee on air transport of the UMQ. Currently, at the provincial level, the listening, the willingness and sense of urgency are there. The recognition that the regional air transport is an essential service is there also. Therefore, we have a partner!”
The working group will analyze the proposals that have been presented by different partners. Among these is the project Régionair, put forward by the Régie inter-municipal regional airport, Mont-Joli. Daniel’s Side believes that this is an interesting project. “The solution is not really stupid, it is well thought out, it is a good concept, but there are others on the table. Before making a selection or identify a solution, we will take the time to watch all of them.” Two cooperative projects are also in the air. “In short, there are a variety of possibilities, says the mayor Side. It is necessary to pick up it in two weeks and deliver conclusions for the implementation, by the end of August or the beginning of September, concrete solutions and long-lasting.”
For Daniel Hand, are the private carriers who hold the solution the more rapid and effective. “But, it is a little the Wild West! This is not like the land transport, where there was a transport commission, which can impose lateral. In the air transport, it is the private who decides where it goes, how it goes there, what are your schedules and if he stays or if he goes. Tomorrow morning, it is possible to land a private carrier that decided to land in Gaspé. It is free, as the owner of the terminal, to rent him a space or not. But, he is not obliged to have a space to operate. He has the right to land in us. You can’t prevent it, as you can’t force someone to land no more.”
If it’s the private carriers that have the key, all the more that there is a market, is this the option that is more sustainable? Mr. Hand remained sceptical and for good reason. “We just live a bad experience with Air Canada. One wonders whether a solution to a mixed “public-private” could not be the case.” The cell also reflects on the idea launched last week by François Bonnardel, which would be to create a State enterprise. “The advantage of this is that it is extremely safe, the spokesperson of the UMQ. The disadvantage is that it is long to put in place. For us, it is an essential service. No air service, it is untenable! It takes an air service quickly.” The crisis does not exclude, therefore, any possibility, and intends to investigate all of the options with the minister Bonnardel and the minister of Economy and Innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon. “Everything is on the table,” reported the elected municipal.
For the members of the cell, the next step is to finish the tour of the carriers. Already, they have met with the leaders of Pascan Aviation, which serves the East-of-Québec. “In parallel, it is understood that the minister Bonnardel wanted to join in the work of the cell, perhaps by extending it, by giving it a color government,” said Mr. Côté. If this week is a crucial one, the next week will be very decisive for the rest of the things.” Within two weeks, the working group should have in hand a model. If it is not final, it will not be far away-he hoped.