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“Competition Bureau Set to Investigate High Air Travel Costs in Canada”

In an effort to address the rising concerns over high domestic airfare prices in Canada, the federal Competition Bureau has announced plans to conduct a study on the country’s air travel industry. With only two major airlines, Westjet and Air Canada, dominating the market, the bureau aims to understand the challenges faced by new entrants and consumers alike.

Public Input Encouraged

The Competition Bureau has invited Canadians to provide their feedback on the terms of reference for the upcoming study, emphasizing the need for more competition, lower prices, and increased consumer choice in the industry. By exploring ways to support airline entry and expansion, as well as enhancing consumer experience when booking flights, the bureau hopes to make meaningful recommendations to the government.

One Major Hurdle: Airport Costs

Industry players, including executives from Flair Air and Westjet, have highlighted the significant impact of high airport costs on airfares in Canada. They argue that exorbitant fees and rents at Canadian airports contribute to the overall cost of operating airlines, ultimately leading to higher ticket prices for consumers. Suggestions to alleviate this burden include reevaluating government rent collections from airports to address affordability concerns.

Government Intervention

While industry leaders advocate for a focus on airport governance in the Competition Bureau’s study, federal Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry François-Philippe Champagne has recommended refining the scope to concentrate on domestic passenger airline services. As the terms of reference undergo ministerial approval, the bureau remains committed to examining competition dynamics within the industry to promote fair pricing and accessibility for all Canadians.

Regulator Empowered with New Tools

The upcoming market study marks a significant milestone for the Competition Bureau, following the expansion of its investigative powers in December. With the ability to compel information from industry players, the bureau aims to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the air travel sector to identify barriers to competition and make informed policy recommendations.

Conclusion

As the Competition Bureau embarks on its study of the domestic air travel industry in Canada, the focus remains on fostering competition, lowering prices, and enhancing consumer choice. By engaging with stakeholders and incorporating public feedback, the bureau aims to address the root causes of high airfare prices and promote a more accessible and affordable air travel experience for all Canadians.”



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