Sector Specific Financial Relief for Canadian Air Carriers

The Importance of Interline Agreements for Regional Communities, Air Travellers, Airlines, and Taxpayers

April 15, 2021

The April 12 announcement of sector specific aid for the airline industry was welcome news. As many regions enter a third wave and travel restrictions remain in place, it is becoming increasingly apparent that travel demand will remain depressed for some time. These dynamics confirm the need for industry support in order to preserve the integrity of Canada’s air transportation network. As a small regional carrier providing essential services from, to, and within the Yukon, we understand why carrier specific discussions may start with the mainline carriers (Air Canada and WestJet) but we also note the commitment to address the needs of smaller carriers as well and we encourage those discussions to take place as soon as possible.

We are pleased to note the reference to interline agreements in the information release. We have raised this issue before, as has the Northern Air Transport Association (NATA) and the Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC). We all recognize how important interline agreements with mainline air carriers can be to regional communities and to regional airlines, but we also recognize that their benefits will be minimal if they are not meaningful in structure and made available to all regional carriers who require them. We are concerned that the position of the government may be that interline agreements should be considered only in cases where mainline carriers no longer wish to fly a route.