More flights. More airlines. More purchasing options.
A study conducted for the Consumers Association of Canada shows Canadians are strongly in favour of more access for international carriers.
The group’s polling found that 60 per cent of Canadians believe foreign airlines should be allowed to increase their service to Canada. Only 14 per cent of respondents were opposed.
Air Canada has been fighting to keep Emirates from adding more flights to Canada, saying it would hurt the Canadian economy and cost jobs in this country. The Harper government, so far, has been swayed by that argument. But there’s been a thaw in relations between Ottawa and the United Arab Emirates government, and it could be that efforts by Emirates to get more landing spots in Canada will soon be renewed.
The CAC poll had some other findings that weren’t too surprising. Asked if allowing more foreign airlines to fly to Canada would lead to more competition for their travel dollar, a full 77 per cent of folks agreed. Only six per cent disagreed. Asked if allowing more foreign airlines to come here would lead to lower travel costs, 69 per cent said yes and 12 per cent disagreed.
But those are silly questions. Of course more airlines means
more competition. The question that matters is whether that competition is a
good thing. Sure, it’s good for our travel budget. But it might not be good for
the economy as a whole, which is what Air Canada argues with some justification.
I’d like to see more competitition, but I am mindful of the effects it might
have here at home. So is the Prime Minister.
The CAC said it will use the poll “to renew our call for Canada to adopt a dramatically different approach to international aviation.”
“Current policy has protected vested interests,” said CAC president Bruce Cran. “It is time to open Canada’s skies and welcome foreign carriers into this market to compete for the business of Canadian travelers.”
Good luck, sir. Good luck.
CANADA’S SENATE WEIGHS IN ON AIR TRAVEL
The Canadian senate has weighed in with a report on the future of the aviation industry in this country.
The Standing Committee on Transport and Communications issued a report called “One Size Doesn’t Fit All: The Future Growth and Competitiveness of Canadian Air Travel.” Putting aside the sexy title and all, I can’t for the life of me tell what the report is supposed to mean by reading the committee’s press release.
The top sentence in the release says this: “Canada needs a single, cohesive national air travel strategy, which must take into account the needs and challenges of all regions, particularly in the North, to chart a new course toward increased air travel in Canada.”
The release says the committee determined that “efforts to improve the competitiveness of regional and northern air transport should begin with transportation strategies that support air traffic growth, and infrastructure improvements that lead to accessible pricing for all Canadians.”
Later I discovered, it talks about how airport rents should be phased out to make airlines more competitive. This also was in the committee's interim report and is an interesting item.
The National Airlines Council of Canada sent out a release today saying it welcomes the Senate report "supporting its position that air travellers are being unduly penalized by excessive taxes and fees that are making air travel more costly for Canadians."
LESS INTRUSIVE SCANNERS AT CANADIAN AIRPORTS
Officials in Ottawa said the new software will produce a computer-generated stick figure, and not so much a realistic body image, while still protecting Canadians with proper security.
I guess it’s good. But I never bought into the whole civil liberties argument about body scanners and all those crazy folks screaming about invasion of privacy.
I mean, do folks honestly think that airport security workers who can access any pornography they want at home will get their jollies by looking at wavy, grainy images on a computer screen in a back room at Pearson Airport? I don’t think so.
BLUE MOUNTAIN CHANGES
Skyline International Development Inc. today announced the closing of a $20 million investment and acquisition in Blue Mountain. Skyline has purchased both retail and undeveloped residential land interests in and adjacent to the renowned Blue Mountain Village at the base of Blue Mountain Resort.
"Under the retail portion of the agreement, Skyline has acquired 50 per cent of existing commercial retail space within the Blue Mountain Village from current owner Intrawest ULC. In addition, Skyline will manage the remaining 50 percent of the Village's retail space. Skyline has also acquired the land to build an additional 20,000 sq. ft. of retail space to expand the Village retail. Skyline's retail interest under agreement at Blue Mountain is currently generating $1.5 million of net operating income.
In the residential portion of the acquisition, Skyline has acquired 136 acres of remaining developable land in and adjacent to the Village, with plans to double the Village's current residential footprint. Skyline intends to develop 1,200 residential units, townhouses and single-family homes along the golf course and in the Village centre in the years ahead.
“We are very excited to be part owners of one of North America’s premier destinations. The Blue Mountain Village acquisition is an important milestone for Skyline’s growth. As of today, we can offer visitors and home buyers a unique set of four-season activity-focused destination communities, extending from downtown Toronto and reaching across southern Ontario,” says Gil Blutrich, Skyline Chairman. “We look forward to bringing the knowledge and expertise of our team to the table to make Blue Mountain this country’s top vacation destination, while offering more home buyers the chance to live in the heart of this thriving resort community and be connected to the rest of our portfolio.”
Good to see that Carnival Corp., the cruise operator that has suffered so many black eyes this year, will spend around $700 million or more on fire protection and backup systems across its 101-ship fleet.
According to Bloomberg News, Carnival will install added emergency generators and reinforce shipboard systems to prevent losses of power like the one that occurred on the Carnival Triump in February.
“Safety is our highest priority,” said Carnival vice chair and COO Howard Frank.
If it wasn’t before, it damn well should be now.
Nice moves, but the cruise company had little choice but to make a splash (pardon the pun) given the problems they’ve had.
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