Another article on the new cdn-us agreement. They mention the possibility of 2 or 3 new routes, but I think even this is pretty optimistic.
Deal to bring YVR more U.S. business
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Vancouver International Airport should attract more business from U.S. airlines stopping here on their way to Asia but a new Canada-U.S. air transport agreement is still just a "small step" towards truly open skies, Canadian airline industry analysts said Monday.
Under a new deal to take effect in September 2006, U.S. airlines will be allowed to fly from the U.S. to a Canadian city, pick up passengers or cargo, and then fly to another country. Canadian carriers will gain the same access to the U.S. market -- enabling them to fly from Canada and stop in one U.S. city before flying to another country.
"It's a baby step toward allowing full access to each other's markets," Calgary-based airline industry analyst Rick Erickson said in an interview. "But Americans don't want to go down that path right now, given all the problems their airlines have had."
U.S. carriers still cannot service Canadian domestic routes and Canadian carriers still won't be allowed to fly from one U.S. destination to another.
Vancouver International Airport Authority president Larry Berg said the new deal will level the playing field and allow Vancouver to better compete for business with U.S. west coast airports like Los Angeles and San Francisco.
"As a gateway city, we have a geographic advantage in being along the shortest point between Asia and North America," he said in an interview. "Dallas-Beijing has a four-hour shorter turnaround time through Vancouver than through San Francisco. This agreement will let us use that advantage."
Berg said U.S. airlines like American and Delta don't currently have direct access to Asian markets so Vancouver airport officials will encourage them to use Vancouver as a gateway to those markets now.
He said there are still "border management issues" to deal with -- to make international borders both secure and convenient for travellers -- but expects the new deal will ultimately create greater choices for consumers and possibly lower prices on some routes.
Erickson said Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal airports should benefit most from increased use of their facilities but doubts the new agreement will have a huge impact on the industry.
"There are not lots and lots of routes just begging for this kind of service," he said. "There are a handful, though, and Vancouver might see two or three new routes as a result of this."
Erickson said a possible new route for Air Canada under the deal would be Toronto-Los Angeles-Auckland.
Queen's University professor Doug Reid said the agreement will essentially be unnoticed by consumers but feels it's a good thing because it removes some "silly rules" that have restricted airlines in the past.
"It's about the ability of airlines to run their businesses more intelligently and not have to fly empty sometimes because of stupid rules," he said. "I think it makes perfect sense and should have been done a long time ago. It's a step in the right direction but it's just a small step."
Reid said U.S. and Canadian carriers should have full access to each other's domestic routes and feels Canadians shouldn't fear U.S. carriers dominating the market.
"Look at the U.S. airline industry today and tell me why we're worried about being overrun by people who, generally speaking, are losing money," he said. "What are we worried about? We'd kick their ass."
Qantas Airways, meanwhile, announced Monday it will offer three weekly Vancouver-San Francisco-Sydney flights from June 14 until August 16 next year. Airline officials say the flights are a first step towards re-establishing year-round services to Canada.
The Australian airline left the Vancouver market about four years ago when it decided to add more capacity to its domestic routes.