Posts Tagged ‘Air Canada’
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
Alberta, along with the other western provinces, have been pressuring the feds recently to open up our western skies to more foreign airlines. Thinking is, more carriers might actually lead to more competition, more options for travelers and even, gasp, cheaper fares! Oh, the horror.
Two completely different points of view have been eloquently expressed recently in two op-ed pieces in the Financial Post, one on March 20th and another the 23rd.
In one, an economist at an Ontario business school, Fred Lazar, posits what to me is the ridiculous idea that somehow Air Canada is going to develop strong international hub airports in Canada in some dimly-seen utopian future, once they’ve found some new way to compete with the global heavyweights. That is, as opposed to popping in and out of bankruptcy, as it has twice in the last 5 years – to the delightful enrichment of its senior management, and at the continued expense of Canadian taxpayers.
There is ONE thing that a ‘strong’ Air Canada… No, hold it. Let’s not be ridiculous. There IS NO strong Air Canada. What there is, is a series of long-standing protectionist measures to prevent really strong airlines from flying into our country when they want to. And heaven forbid that anyone should transit through a Canadian airport! Flights must stop or start here, else our world will crumble! And who have these policies served? I mean, really, who??
As the earlier reprint in the Post by Peter Harbison, the chairman of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, made clear, Canada has hundreds of thousands of fewer air passengers land here than Australia does. Along with far fewer international flight options.
The head of Air Canada, Mr. Rovinescu, in one of several recent speeches eviscerating the idea of Emirates access to anywhere other than Toronto, had this to say: “What Emirates wants to do is flood the Canadian market with capacity. Its strategy is to scoop up travelers going elsewhere in the world and funnel them through Dubai, further strengthening Dubai as a global flow hub. This would have the effect of severely damaging our hubs in Canada and our network in Europe and elsewhere.”
Really? What ‘hubs’ are those? The one’s you’ve been going bankrupt servicing? And ‘your’ network in Europe? You surely mean your partner Lufthansa’s network?
Where, exactly, in the world am I going to find more convenient to fly by transiting Dubai? India, maybe. Somalia. Gee, does Air Canada fly there a lot? Why, no.
So you’re saying, Mr. Air Canada, that opening up more capacity to a part of the world you hardly bother with will, somehow devastate the market for Air Canada? Even though most AirCan flights aren’t even on AirCan planes? I wonder what Australia’s experience has been?
Turns out that, “despite a 50% increase in Gulf airline capacity since 2005, Qantas’ international market share is almost identical.” So Australia’s Quantas manages to compete, and Australia gets an extra 40,000 visitors a WEEK into it’s airports and country. Gee, that must be awful for Australia’s economy. A total disaster.
Turns out most of Canada’s air tourists come from the US. Makes sense, as their airlines at least offer cheap fares to their citizens. But, in case you haven’t noticed, America’s economy has tanked. Where are we going to replace those lost tourists from? Well, with the attitude of Air Canada, backed by the bureaucrats of Transport Canada, and perhaps the federal government, it would seem the answer to that question would be: