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07 September 2011
On August 12 2011 the minister of transport announced a new air services agreement between Canada and Mexico. This agreement, which was signed ad referendum but is being applied administratively, will replace the restrictive agreement previously in force.
Under the old agreement, designation of air carriers was limited, although a series of diplomatic notes had expanded the rights originally granted. Thus, in 2007 WestJet, Air Transat, Skyservice and Sunwing were all designated as Canadian carriers entitled to exercise rights under the agreement. There were also restrictions on routes and associated rights, but these too had been extended on numerous occasions by diplomatic note. In addition, tariffs were filed on a single disapproval basis.
The new agreement will:
Mexico is a hugely popular destination for Canadians and the annual holiday charter traffic from late December to mid-March significantly increases overall traffic. However, Mexico is not exclusively a leisure destination. In 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into force. NAFTA, which has led to significant political debate in Canada, has been associated with a quadrupling of trade between Canada and Mexico. Due to increased leisure and business travel, Mexico has thus become Canada's third largest transportation market.
The new agreement should reduce the administrative burden associated with applications for route rights and thus improve the ability to offer more economical air services between the two countries.
In 2006 Canada announced its Blue Sky policy to liberalise air service agreements, ideally of the 'open skies' variety. However, the policy recognises that open skies will not always be possible and evinces a pragmatic willingness to negotiate alternatives where necessary.
Canada's new agreement with Mexico falls short of an 'open-skies' agreement and more closely resembles the agreements negotiated over the past five years with Japan, Jordan, Singapore, the Philippines, Morocco, Cuba, Egypt and Algeria. All of these represent liberal improvements over the agreements which they replaced.
For further information on this topic please contact Gerard A Chouest or Carlos P Martins at Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn LLP by telephone (+1 416 982 3800), fax (+1 416 982 3801) or email (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Gerard A Chouest