Canada signed or expanded a record 26 air transport agreements in 2013, deepening access to new markets to vie for coveted transfer traffic as the balance of air traffic shifts toward developing countries, the country’s transport minister said in Atlanta.
Already well-known for a system of mostly privatized airports with high levels of customer service, Canada needs enhanced air connectivity to continue to boost its global competitiveness, said Lisa Raitt, minister of transport, who also formerly served as CEO of the Toronto Port Authority including the city’s airport.
“In terms of distance, Canada’s major airports are equally well-placed as those of the U.S., Europe and the Gulf states to attract in-transit traffic, so cost competitiveness and airport facilitation become key factors,” Ms. Raitt was slated to say at the Airports Council International – North America conference, according to a copy of her remarks. “This is particularly important now, as most future air transport growth is predicted to be between, with and among developing countries.”
To prepare, Canada’s airports are focusing on value and convenience, Ms. Raitt said, but unlike other countries that are pouring billions in public money into their infrastructure, Canada is achieving this by privatizing its gateways and enacting better trade policies and transport agreements.
“We’re doing this by letting our airports make the market-based decisions they need,” Ms. Raitt said.
So far, that has worked for the airports and the country, she added. In 2012, ACI named Victoria International Airport the top airport for those with under 2 million passengers. In the same year, Vancouver International Airport, which is tops in North America for flights to China, won the Skytrax North American Airport Award for service and facilities.
For a copy of Ms. Raitt’s remarks, click here.