The U.S. is looking for open skies talks with Canada which would allow US carriers to fly routes within Canada and vice versa. Currently US and Canadian airlines are free to fly cross-border routes without restriction but can fly domestically point to point only in their home coutry.
There are barriers to change, of course.
First the Canadian government needs to check with its special interests.
- Mr. Collenette’s successor, Tony Valeri, has indicated he would like to negotiate the possible easing of restrictions on cargo flights into Canada, but wants to consult with Canadians before going any further.
“Minister Valeri has said this is something he would like to discuss,” Mr. Cellucci noted. “He wants to see what people around Canada think.
“We think it’s probably a good time to start discussing things like the cargo issue, as well as things like the cabotage and other issues involving open skies.”
Mr. Valeri said he has already started meeting with various industry stakeholders, and those discussions would have to be complete before he begins any serious negotiations with the United States.
And Canada’s transportation minister is particularly beholden to the current arrangement.
- De-regulating cargo flights would be a politically sensitive issue for Mr. Valeri. FedEx is currently forced to land at the airport in the transport minister’s backyard in Hamilton, Ont. Canadian carriers pick up FedEx’s cargo from there for distribution across the country.
US carriers may not be behind a change, either.
If open skies does ultimately come, it will be an interesting example for public choice economics to try to explain.