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Canada, Britain sign open skies agreement
Last Updated Fri, 21 Apr 2006 18:14:22 EDT
CBC News

The governments of Canada and Britain have signed an open skies air transport agreement that is designed to ease air travel between the two countries and Europe.

* INDEPTH: Air Canada

Air Canada sees big profits in new agreement. (Canadian Press)

When this agreement comes into effect on Sept. 1, Canadian airlines will be able to offer virtually unlimited passenger and cargo flights to and from Britain and on to Europe, the Middle East and other countries.

British airlines will have similar rights when flying to Canada and on to the United States, Latin America or Asia.

* FROM NOV. 11, 2005: Canada, U.S. agree on new open skies deal

"This new agreement opens up a realm of new opportunities that will benefit air travelers," said Duncan Dee, a senior vice president at ACE Aviation Holdings, Air Canada's parent. "Most notably, it will allow us to continue expanding Air Canada's simplified fare products for customers between Canada and the United Kingdom, our largest international market."

Lawrence Cannon, Canada's minister of transport, infrastructure and communities, said: "I am pleased with the new agreement and look forward to the potential benefits for Canada's passengers, shippers, airlines and airports. I am confident this further liberalization will allow airlines to better meet the needs of travelers, shippers, and the air industry."

At least 12 air carriers operate between the Canada and Britain, serving more than nine Canadian cities and eight British cities. They carry more than two million passengers a year.

Air Canada is one of the most important carriers on the route, flying into Heathrow about 100 times a week.

The bilateral deal was reached after discussions involving officials from the Canadian and British governments as well as Canadian and British airlines.

Canada signed a similar deal with the United States in 1995. It opened up air travel between the two countries, giving Air Canada unparalled access to the U.S. market.

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Zoom and Transat already offer cheap options to fly across the Atlantic. Other than the existing carriers increasing capacity and flights, will other Canadian and British carriers be interested in flying this route? I don't envision bmi or Westjet flying the route any time soon.
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