• Thu. Aug 4th, 2022

Dominic Cardy calls for deregulation of air transport

ByKimberly A. Brochu

Jun 13, 2022

New Brunswick’s education minister took to Twitter over the weekend, commenting on something unrelated to his portfolio, but it’s a topic Dominic Cardy says he has experience with.

“Atlantic Canada has the worst commercial air service of any place I’ve lived. Including Bangladesh and Nepal,” Cardy tweeted on Saturday. most countries did it decades ago. Begin the process. Now.

During a lunch in Saint John on Monday, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs was asked about the social media comments. He said, the last time he checked, he didn’t believe Cardy was the transport minister.

However, Higgs said he suspected the comment was made out of frustration, as Cardy has done a lot of work to help Ukrainians get to the country and province.

He was also sympathetic to the Canadian airline industry.

“My son-in-law is a commercial airline pilot and he tells me how hard it is to have people — not just pilots — but people, baggage handlers, customer service,” Higgs said. “All this is a big problem and we see it everywhere. With getting people out of the pandemic, I mean nowhere has that been more disruptive than the airline industry.

Passengers traveling through Canada’s busiest airports face long lines, delays and flight cancellations. Experts believe most of the problems stem from staffing levels at customs and immigration offices, increased passenger traffic, as well as COVID-19 border measures.

The Canadian Airports Council says the industry is returning to pre-COVID-19 traffic levels incredibly quickly.

“We have more flights, more carriers, more destinations in terms of Atlantic Canada, especially New Brunswick, already returning to pre-COVID traffic levels for this summer,” said the acting president of the Council of airports of Canada, Monette Pasher.

“So I think you’re going to see a market that’s pretty well served, I even think some of it is coming back faster than expected.”

Pasher says there are also more ultra-low-cost carriers in the Canadian market – foreign ownership is now at 49%, down from 25% previously.

She applauds the federal government’s action to suspend mandatory random COVID-19 testing at all airports for vaccinated travelers – which began on Saturday and will remain suspended until June 30.

Airports in Atlantic Canada can’t help but be affected by the problems plaguing Toronto Pearson Airport or other major airports across the country, says Toronto International Airport Authority’s Director of Public Relations Fredericton, Kate O’Rourke.

“When you’re in the world of aviation, everything is linked. So the plane, obviously, arrives or departs from here but then it goes to another airport. So if our biggest hubs run into difficulties, as they are now, that has a ripple effect on all of our airports,” she said.

New Brunswick has just released a five-year strategy for the airline sector, pledging $4 million to study how to strengthen the industry in the province. Higgs said more than one million trips made by New Brunswickers originated from airports outside the province, including the United States.

In follow-up comments on social media, Cardy said Atlantic Canadians shouldn’t have to deal with “awful service and ridiculous prices.”

“If prices are high, there is no excuse for the appalling service Atlantic Canadians are enduring,” he wrote.