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Your publication has so far been one
of the best sources of information on
this topic that I've come across."

Philip.T. Slattery, US Embassy - London.

 These kind words about Air Highways of the World, the "Journal of Open Skies," echo the reaction we've enjoyed from readers of Africa Travel Magazine and BC Scene Magazine, our other travel/business publications, With close to 500,000 Air Highway Supermaps now in circulation, and combined hits in the 4 million per year range, we are making progress. Our Air & Marine Tourism Conference speakers and other supporters are featured in this site's personalities section. One of them, Dave Frank of Vancouver, wrote the Open Skies article below and another on Air Cargo.

During Air Highways "North American Road Shows," in 2002, we will visit many airports, starting with those listed on the left. Thanks to Airport Managers, mayors, community and government officials at all levels, plus our sponsors and thousands of readers, we look to continued new avenues of discovery on the world's Air Highways.
Jerry W. Bird, Editor

Open Skies Report
by Dave Frank

What an amazing difference a market-driven trans border air agreement can make, and in such a short period of time. It seems like everyday there is a new advertisement, a new service and an entirely new carrier. This is occurring right across Canada and the United States. Looking at the trans border market as a whole, it is almost impossible to keep track of. However, the changes are just beginning. After 20 years of little progress in trying to replace the archaic Canada-USA. air agreement (some would say 30 years), this agreement, with its removal of all scheduled service restrictions on every potential trans border flight (with some temporary phase-in for Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver), has really opened things up. It also caught many carriers flat-footed since most had given up hope that there would ever be a new agreement.

While Air Canada and Northwest Airlines are aggressively building new trans border services, carriers like Canadian Airlines International (CAIL) were caught with a lack of aircraft. To correct for this, Canadian has been very busy converting charter flights to scheduled flights and strengthening its relationship with American Airlines. Delta Airlines insisted on obtaining service from Toronto to its super-hub at Atlanta, which spent all its political capital, hence a delay until year two of the phase-in for its initial service developments. Others, like United, are taking a bit of a wait-and-see attitude (perhaps to consolidate their growing relationship with Air Canada and Lufthansa).

Nevertheless, almost every Canadian city has already obtained more new trans border aircraft than they may be able to absorb.For example, American Airlines brought Winnipeg a 40 percent increase in trans border service. Montreal could not support Valujet. Can trans border airports keep these planes filled? Vancouver is facing a near doubling of trans border capacity. Can every travel agent, hotel, shop and business in Greater Vancouver really double its trans border business over the next six months? One would certainly like to ensure that all these new services are Those that put the long hours in and quickly come up to speed will see continued growth in air services and economic development over the next several years.

Those that take a laissez-faire approach will see some new services fail. Nothing sets air service development back more than a dropped service. The aggressive communities will be working closely with all the trans border carriers (old and new) to help fill aircraft. As examples, in Ottawa the convention center has worked hard to increase trans border traffic by 53%. In Regina and Saskatoon they need to push Northwest Airline's nonstop to the Minneapolis/St. Paul hub. The bottom line is clear, use it or lose it. At first, agents and consumers will be fascinated by the specials. One of the most spectacular was Reno Air's introductory triple 7 fare from Vancouver to Reno. Seventy-seven dollars to get there, seven dollars to get back. Canadian dollars, that is! Alaska Airlines, still selling San Diego to Vancouver, return, for under $200 Canadian.

These specials will not sustain new services. Carriers and communities need to combine business with pleasure. Expose consumers to the product with the specials, but at the end of the day, it is the business traveller up front in the aircraft that is paying the bills and cargo traffic that adds "that little bit extra". This message has to be received right across Canada. The nation has the seventh largest economy in the world and by far its largest trading partner is the United States. This new air agreement allows the trans border economy to finally enter the jet age. The communities on both sides of the border who develop this new trans border air highway will reap the benefits that come from enhanced air services. Those that do not will be left behind.

A new air treaty triggers a spectacular expansion of trans-border air services and adds to the advantages of a Canadian business location. Canada-based businesses selling to the North American market are benefiting from a dramatic increase in Canada-U.S. linkages resulting from the "Open Skies" agreement between the two countries". Statistics released by Transport Canada show a total of 169 new Canada-U.S. services either in operation, announced or planned since the accord was signed in February 1995.

More to Explore
Open Skies Page 2: Business is Booming
Open Skies Page 3: Dave Frank on Air Cargo
Our Silent Partners (Associations)
UBCM - Volunteers. [Top of page]

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