The prime minister Justin Trudeau has visited the food bank, Moisson Outaouais, Friday morning.
3 July 2020 14: 24
Updated at 19h05
Regional flights: Trudeau disappointed in the decision of Air Canada, Legault holds a grant [VIDEO]
The canadian Press
The canadian Press
OTTAWA — The prime minister Justin Trudeau admits three days later that he was disappointed in the decision of Air Canada to abandon a thirty destinations in the country. At the same time, it is relying on the airline to continue to serve the areas once the economy allows.
Its quebec counterpart, to him, is a little more pressed for time.
Passage in the Outaouais region, on Friday afternoon, the prime minister of Québec, François Legault, has said that his minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, is already in discussions with Air Canada. Mr. Legault shall also submit the idea of placing in competition of different airline companies and ask them for a frequency and a rate reasonable to compensate for the services that are missing in some areas.
“We are open to giving a grant to an airline because for me, this service is essential to have transport in all regions of Quebec. Therefore, it does not exclude anything,” said Mr. Legault, flanked by two elected officials of the region, its minister Mathieu Lacombe and mp Robert Bussière, during a press conference.
The prime minister of Quebec is, however, remained cautious about this idea referred to by Mr. Bonnardel, in several media, to set up an airline for the regions of Quebec, abandoned by Air Canada.
During another press conference in the region, a few hours earlier, Mr. Trudeau had not offered track of solutions to help the regions undermined by the decision of Air Canada to suspend 30 regional service, inland and close eight stopovers at regional airports across canada, including four in Quebec.
The carrier had notably spoke of the”devastating impact” of the health crisis on its activities and to explain its decision last Tuesday.
“You know that Air Canada is taking advantage of the most profitable in the country, but it is also expected that they serve the people who live in more remote areas. So, this is something that we hope they will be able to (be) put to serve these sectors, these areas as the economy begins to recover”, said Mr. Trudeau in the margin of his visit to the food bank, Moisson Outaouais, Friday morning.
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“I think that (…) we are going to have to adjust our ways of doing things because of the current crisis, but also for the future. There are things that will change and we will work with other levels of government, with industries, including the airline industry, to see how we can fill the immediate needs, but how we are going to have a country more resilient, stronger and more just in the years to come,” he added.
This decision, Air Canada has been condemned by economic and political actors, all levels combined), and force the prime contractors to focus on the future of regional air transport.
A “crisis cell” has been established Thursday by the Alliance of the tourism industry in Québec (AITQ), the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ), the quebec Network of airports (RQA) and the Union des municipalités du Québec (UMQ). It will meet several times over the next few weeks to meet with the air carriers serving already the regions, and to evaluate different business models.
In an interview with The canadian Press, Isabelle Dostaler, dean of the faculty of management, Memorial University of Newfoundland and an expert on aeronautics and air transport, has submitted the idea, as Mr. Legault has done,that small carriers can grow.
“Is this what it is going towards a model where Air Canada takes care of the international transport? Why we would not establish a State enterprise which would carry the passengers to canadians in areas where there would be an arrangement with Air Canada for the total price of a trip from Seven Islands to China (with a stopover via Montreal) to be the same as before?” inquired she.
However, maintaining a level of air service appropriate to happen obligatorily through financial contribution of the governments?
“Is it that you want only to urban centres, or one wants to maintain of the regions, will enable them to flourish and exist? Is it that we want to occupy the territory? If one wants it, it is sure that there is a share of the money from the State, which must go to help. We must not forget the concept of a fair price. It is sure that it can’t be free. It is sure that remoteness has a cost and the question to ask is: who should bear this cost? This can not only be the taxpayers,” argued Ms. Dostaler.
The group’s director of studies in management of enterprises in the aeronautics industry, UQAM, Mehran Ebrahimi, is of the opinion that public money should be used to maintain the infrastructure to maintain an economic activity, which, in turn, will be able to return to the regions. He wondered who, in fact, could make money where the population density is low.
“It is necessary that the public money is there in the same way as public money is there to keep the Montreal metro. Otherwise we have to say our goodbyes and say that we will not have regional development”, explains Mr Ebrahimi.