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The following is a statement from Massimo Bergamini, president and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) on the release of a study by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) on the impact of high taxes and fees on Canada’s commercial airline industry.
“The Montreal Economic Institute report, Air Transport: High Taxes and Fees Penalize Travellers, confirms what we have been saying for years, and what the federal government’s own Emerson report said in 2016, namely that the so-called user-pay principle is hurting consumers and the competitiveness of our industry.
“To put it more bluntly, with the changing demographics of demand, aviation user-pay has become a hidden tax on the middle class.
“Canada has a long history of recognizing that transportation–marine, rail and road–plays crucial social and economic roles in this vast, sparsely populated country, connecting families and communities and opening doors to economic opportunities. Why not air travel?
“With a rapidly changing domestic and global economic landscape and the growing importance of the service and knowledge sector, the ability to move quickly and economically to build networks and relations becomes more important.
“As critical as rail and road have been in connecting Canada, air travel is even more critical now to open up Canada to the world.
“The days of the jetsetters are long gone. Air travel in Canada is often the only option when people need to travel for work or to connect with family.
“Commercial air travel is not a luxury in Canada, yet governments treat it that way. This must stop.
“We need the federal government to recognize that the current model of financing air transportation is outdated, uncompetitive and unfair. It fails to recognize that air transportation serves both individual air travelers and the country’ larger social and economic interests.
“Adding costs to air travel in the form of airport rents, fuel taxes and security fees– often with the revenues used to finance non-air related initiatives–penalizes the people that air transportation serves and sabotages its critical role in binding the country together and facilitating economic growth”.