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Guest Post: Why Canadian Air Travel is a Budget Traveller’s Nightmare

(Photo from here)

(Photo from here)

As American carriers and European airlines persistently slash prices off of their tickets, Canadian residents can’t help but envy their ridiculously affordable flights. Rather than exploring their own country, CTV reports that 75 percent of the Canadian population living just 90 minutes away from the US are crossing the border to shop for US flights. The significant difference in cost poses the obvious question of why air travel in Canada is so expensive when the addition of cheap airlines would be a huge benefit to the economy by generating greater tax revenues.

One of the major differences between air travel in Canada and US is that their air transport system is subsidised by tax dollars. Contributor Daniel-Robert Gooch explains to The Globe and Mail readers that most major Canadian airports are run by non-share capital corporations instead of the federal government, and they are fully responsible for funds needed for operations and infrastructure, with generated profits returned as investment for the airport. This is why you will notice higher Canadian airport fees.

Hopper.com delves further into the issue by indicating that Canadian airports can inflate landing fees up to 200 percent more than US airports, discouraging competition among domestic routes and alternatively expanding into international routes. In terms of competitiveness in domestic travel, the nation is limited to two major domestic airlines (Air Canada and WestJet), so the incentive to lower fares is virtually non-existent. International routes, on the other hand, are accessible by various other carriers that force the aforementioned airlines to match cheaper fares, making it more economical to fly out of country rather than travel within Canada.

Generally, any airport that operates a wide selection of international flights will be pretty expensive to fly to in comparison to ones that mainly operate domestic routes, especially hubs like London Heathrow, one of the busiest in the world according to Parking4Less. But the fact that travelling outside of Canada costs just as much or less than flying across the country is inconvenient, to say the least. The introduction of affordable airlines would rescue the Canadian aviation industry out of their diminishing state. In lieu of keeping air travel separate from the federal government, airlines will need to collaborate with them to think of a new national air travel strategy to finally address this predicament.

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April Yap - November 24, 2015 - 6:38 am

This is discouraging competition among domestic routes. Hope they will offer lower fares. To those budget travelers out there, hope you’ll read this post.

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