Regional and remote air Services: the opportunity to break the pattern

Services aériens régionaux: l’occasion de briser le modèle

Services aériens régionaux: l’occasion de briser le modèle

Even if Pascan replaces Air Canada, the problem is likely to remain whole with respect to the price of the tickets if the system is not changed, ” says Gaétan Lelièvre.


July 3, 2020 18h35

Updated at 19h04


Regional and remote air Services: the opportunity to break the pattern

Services aériens régionaux: l’occasion de briser le modèle

Services aériens régionaux: l’occasion de briser le modèle

Gilles Gagné

The Sun

CARLETON — If the departure of Air Canada from the Gaspésie, Bas-Saint-Laurent and other sectors of Québec is a hard blow to the short-term, ex-member of parliament for Gaspé, Gaétan Lelièvre ensures that this withdrawal should be considered as an opportunity to redesign the air services according to the needs of rural areas.

Cash to his credit 30 years of analysis of the air service, because he has also been director of municipal services, and director of the MRC before being a member of parliament, Mr. Lelievre believes that it is necessary to break the current model, based generally on a single-provider private in the regional airports.

“Even if Pascan Aviation replaces Air Canada to Gaspé, if the model private current does not change, the people in the regions will continue to pay 1000 $, 1500 $ and up to 1900 $ for round-trips between the airport and Montreal or Quebec. I made the fiscal year on June 30 and Pascan offers a ticket Bonaventure-Montreal 1587 $ on 6 July, with a return the next day”, he says.

“It is necessary to establish partnerships with communities. They must be genuine partners, not dependent on an operator such as Air Canada. The service must be offered at an affordable price, and this service must be planned with a vision of development of the regions. Time is important in today’s society. The train also is very important, but there are situations where it takes the plane, for doctors, for example, but also for patients and the public in general. The plane is not a luxury. It can no longer be perceived as that,” says Gaétan Lelièvre.

Now a consultant in regional development, the ex-deputy of Gaspé preaches to his region, but he does not preach to its needs. He said that he has a horror of taking the plane!

Gaétan Lelièvre is conceded that there must be a return of air services to Gaspé in the most cutting, in September, for example, and that this return will adapt to likely be on the well-known model of provider private non-partner.

Services aériens régionaux: l’occasion de briser le modèle

Now a consultant in regional development, Gaétan Lelièvre hard to understand the hesitation of governments to negotiate downward the price of the plane tickets of their own officials.

Photo special collaboration, Gilles Gagné

“But you have to set aside time to review the model and implement it in the medium term. If we want to continue our development efforts, it is necessary to be able to go where you want quickly and people need to be able to come here just as fast. If it is a question of attracting young families in the Gaspé, they do not want to be isolated from each other by plane tickets at the exorbitant price”, slice-t-it.

10 years ago, while he was in municipal administration, Gaétan Lelièvre has worked on a cooperative model for regional air services.

“The price of a round trip Gaspé-Montréal amounted to $ 440. Our numbers had been validated by experts. There is more complexity if we establish a co-operative inter-regional, but it is worth it. We are talking about a social economy enterprise, including municipalities, chambers of commerce, the users, the employees. One can think of citizens who become members and have a discount on the price of tickets,” he explains.

The model Lindberg

These cooperatives would certainly, if they do not want to acquire the devices, and private partners to provide.

“I look at the model Lindberg, established in Ontario by Serge Larivière. He was a founder of the firm’s air Porter, which offers routes in the north of Ontario for a lower price to $ 400. Mr. Larivière is talking about a barrier of $ 400. On top of that, people don’t take the plane. There is more to Wear, that always works. He is the owner of The airport of la Macaza, in the Laurentians, and he is interested in the regions,” notes Mr. Lelievre.

Model Lindberg or not, the regional and remote air services must be redefined in function of the citizens, “not to a company such as Air Canada, who used regional services to feed into the international”, he says.

The new model, that it is cooperative, that it is composed of governed intermunicipal or that he is inspired of the two directions, will need government support, which is not a defect, note Gaétan Lelièvre, considering that major airports are urban are also provided.

“Government assistance has already begun in the case of Québec, with improvements to the airports to Gaspé, Sainte-Anne-des-Monts and Grande-Rivière. It is necessary that it continues. On the federal side, we can also think of an aid to the operation of airports, modulated according to the number of passengers, but also operating costs. Let us not forget that it is the withdrawal of Ottawa from a multitude of airports, including Gaspé, which is at the origin of some of the problems experienced now. The communities have been obliged to take possession of their airport rather than losing them, and they must ask for high fees to users, not to declare a deficit,” he explains.

“Government assistance has already begun in the case of Québec, with improvements to the airports to Gaspé, Sainte-Anne-des-Monts and Grande-Rivière. It is necessary that it continues ”

Gaétan Lelièvre, consultant in regional development and ex-member of parliament for Gaspé

“As the air transport is often seen as a service offered to the privileged classes of the population, the cities do not want to pay operating deficits by the whole population,” said Mr Lelievre.

It is necessary therefore that the air services become “popular”, in the sense of joining a larger portion of the public, so that the three levels of government, namely municipal, provincial and federal, are willing to participate financially to the innovative model.



If Gaétan Lelièvre ensures that the redeployment of regional and remote air services will require government support, it believes that these same governments will be able to finance a good part of their contribution paid less the price of the tickets for their officials. “Let’s take as an example the current system. I have done the calculation. About 70 % of users at the airport in Gaspé are employees of the federal, provincial or municipal. Each year there are 10 000 [12 000] passengers boarding there who are going to Quebec city or Montreal. If we take the figures conservative, 7000 passengers are employees paying $ 1000 per ticket. If we stay conservative, they should not pay more than $ 500 per round-trip; 7,000 times 500 $, it is $ 3.5 million savings to the government per year. Add all the other regional airports, and we could collectively save tens of millions of dollars,” said Mr Lelievre.

He does not understand that the governments, knowing that they annually consume a minimum number of tickets, nor encourage airlines to participate in a tender process to identify a carrier to lower prices. “The same tender would be used to establish a reasonable price for the other patrons, Mr. and Mrs. All-the-World. It is poor management. I do not understand why governments do not initiate tendering of the genre. I do not see bonds of attachment to the established carriers to explain it,” he says.

“There is also the issue of the bonus points offered by the airlines. Many officials reserve their ticket with their personal credit card. They are offering bonus points personal and they can keep them. It is legal but it is immoral. They don’t want to of course not to change this practice and the State accepts it,” said Gaétan Lelièvre.

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