OTTAWA —The National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC), which represents Canada’s largest air carriers, is supporting the recommendations put forth by the Industry Strategy Council to restart Canada’s economy and aviation sector.
The Council, an economy advisory group created by the federal government, recently issued a report that details the “catastrophic decrease” in air travel due to the pandemic. It argues that aviation and aerospace are in “urgent need of targeted assistance to avoid collapse,” and that the current crisis is placing the entire system at risk.
Last month, Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced news of a “package of assistance” for Canadian airlines that would include “loans and potentially other support.” However, there have been no further details since then, including when the package will be coming.
The report also calls for action on key policy areas including providing liquidity, rapid testing, reduced quarantine measures and selective reopening of borders with low-risk countries.
If the government does not act, the report warns that consumers will see reduced services, higher prices, diminished competition and a loss of connectivity.
“We strongly support the recommendations provided by the Council,” said Mike McNaney, President and CEO of the NACC. “We are now fighting to not only protect the ability of the industry to recover, but to ensure irreparable damage is not done to the sector.”
McNaney went on to say that Canadian connectivity has decreased substantially over the past few months, as flights have been significantly reduced or eliminated across every region.
“Our members have spent years and invested billions of dollars building regional and international networks to create the level of connectivity needed to support Canada’s economy,” he added. “The investment and the tens of thousands of direct jobs it entails are being systematically eroded.”
In its submission to the Council, the NACC outlined the unprecedented destructive impact of the pandemic on aviation and the need for government action to ensure aviation is able to play the role it must play in Canada’s overall economic recovery.
According to McNaney, the NACC will continue to engage with the federal government, in conjunction with its airport partners, on the need to move forward with further support for the sector.
NACC represents Canada’s largest national and international passenger air carriers, including Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP and WestJet.