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Canada needs to do something about airfare

Posted on October 10, 2017 by Maple Creek

Facundo Rodriguez

I’ve always heard that flying from province to province in Canada was expensive, but I didn’t know that it was this expensive. At this point, I’m saying privatize airports in Canada. Its no wonder we travel abroad more than we do within our country.
I had a friend one time who was travelling from Calgary to North Bay, Ontario and it cost him just as much to fly to New Zealand and back. In the America, you can fly across the country for prices starting at $99. And I get it there’s more competition there which drives the costs, but maybe we should try a similar approach here.
I suspect over bearing airport fees and taxes also play a major role. But it’s not just flights within Canada that we are paying more for its also international flights. A new study(2016) published through HuffingtonPost, estimates Canada has the world’s highest costs for international air travel. And by a longshot. Canadians pay an average of US$94.66 per 100 km of international air travel on full-service airlines, compared to US$61.87 in Oman, the second-most expensive country. In the U.S., that averaged just $18.05. Canada also topped the list for international travel on low-cost airlines, at $43.70 per 100km, compared to $12.84 in the U.S. When it comes to domestic flights, Canada ranked as only the sixth-most expensive country, behind the United Arab Emirates, Finland, Qatar, the Netherlands and Japan.
And I know, Canada’s large size and the long distances between cities will always make air travel less efficient and therefore more expensive here. But the problem doesn’t just solely rest on the fact that we have such a large country. Canada’s largest airports are notorious for having some of the world’s highest landing fees, while the federal government collects rent from airports that back in 2015 accounted for $313 million in revenue.
A flight from Toronto to Saskatoon leaving Oct 5 and a return flight on Oct 9, comes to a total of $1,062. For $200 there and back, leaving from Toronto through WowAir, for one day, I can go to Iceland. I could probably spend a nice week at a 5-star hotel in Hawaii for that same price. A more in-depth study was conducted out of Montreal entitled, Viewpoint – The Charges and Taxes That Undermine the Competitiveness of Canadian Airports, it’s worth the read trust me. The study from the Montreal Economic Institute concluded that airports should be privatized to end the rent payments. This would free airports to make investments, lower the cost of flights to consumers and increase demand and service for air travellers, the report said. They say things don’t bother you so much until they hit home, and now it has hit home for me. Now that I have to book flights back to Ontario, I have to debate if half the paycheck is worth it.

Facundo Rodriguez is a reporter with the Maple Creek News-Times. He can be reached by email at frodriguez@maplecreeknews.com

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