The European Union and Canada have reached agreement to permit all European airlines to fly directly to Canada from anywhere in Europe with all restrictions eliminated.
Benefits from the Canadian perspective include unrestricted direct air services between Canada and the 27 EU Member States; flexible pricing arrangements; and improved flexibility for cargo. The agreement also covers eight EU Member States—Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia—with which Canada did not previously have air agreements.
"The successful conclusion of air transport negotiations with the European Union is another step forward in our ongoing efforts to facilitate growth in trade, investment and tourism for Canadian business," said Minister Baird. "In these uncertain times, closer global partnerships will help stimulate our economy and expand commercial links,” says John Baird, Canada’s Transport Minister.
This coming summer, KLM will launch scheduled service to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In addition to serving passenger traffic, the airline expects that cargo traffic will get a boost, serving this important oil and energy market area. KLM President & CEO, Peter Hartman, observes, “Under the present economic situation, it’s even more important to choose destinations that meet a strong demand. By introducing Calgary to our network, we further enhance our product offering to our customers, who can now reach this important region in Canada on a direct flight from Amsterdam.”
Forecasting a loss of $2.9 billion for the world airline industry, the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) director general and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani, says, “The outlook is bleak. The chronic industry crisis will continue into 2009. We face the worst revenue environment in 50 years.” Cargo traffic in 2009 is projected to decline 5%, following this year’s 1.5%. Looking backward, the last time cargo fell was in 2001, according to IATA, when it dropped 6%.