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Government announcement
February 02, 2018

Regional Air Transport Summit: Eight measures that will improve regional air transport in Quebec


EN DIRECT 🔴 | Fin du Sommet sur le transport aérien régional.

Posted by Philippe Couillard on Friday, February 2, 2018

Improving Quebecers’ quality of life by making travel easier and faster

Lévis, February 2, 2018. — At the end of the Regional Air Transport Summit, attended by more than 300 people, the Government of Quebec announced eight measures that will improve regional air transport in Quebec:

1. Implementation of a new assistance program for regional airport infrastructure. This program, more generous than the previous one, will help finance a great deal of infrastructure work and the equipment necessary for the proper functioning of airports. This includes, for example, runways, lighting, reception buildings and automated weather observation stations.

2. Implementation of an assistance program for regional air service. The objective is to improve and develop the services offered by air carriers already in Quebec and to attract new players.

3. Simplification and improvement of the Airfare Reduction Program already in place. The airfare reimbursement program will be expanded to include the Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and Côte-Nord regions. Both the percentage underwritten and the limits will be improved.

4. Study to quickly present tangible measures to enable Quebecers to visit our regions at a lower cost. This will considerably increase the demand for domestic flights and also generate new tourism revenue and significant economic benefits for all of Quebec. The Ministère des Transports will work with the Ministère du Tourisme, the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec and the airlines on the ground to develop this measure.

5. Creation of a federal government communications channel specific to air transport. This will allow us to discuss the concerns that you presented to us today and during our other consultations.

6. Manage government employees’ provincial travel more efficiently. Pierre Arcand, Minister responsible for Government Administration and Ongoing Program Review and Chair of the Conseil du trésor will be mandated with creating an integrated air transport strategy for the Government of Quebec.

7. Creation of a permanent national work group with a mandate to:

  • Continuously assess the governmental measures in place;
  • Identify elements that the Government of Quebec could use to make representations to the federal government;
  • Carry out joint projects in the industry, such as promoting domestic air transport and performing studies;
  • Focus on the question of chartered aircrafts, an essential part of carrying out the Plan Nord and developing Quebec’s economy;
  • Think about opportunities for implementing a price floor for certain regional services using a financial compensation mechanism to enforce the price floor;
  • Analyze the cost and impact of abolishing the QST, but also see what would be the best option for reducing the cost of tickets;
  • Assess whether the cost of such a measure will have the desired effects or if it would be better to allocate it elsewhere to maximize citizens’ benefits.

8. Creation of regional committees with a mandate to:

  • Identify priorities for developing air transport in their regions;
  • Hone the solutions proposed by the regions while aiming to encourage synergy between carriers and different socio-political stakeholders in regional air transport;
  • Develop the organization and air transport services in isolated regions, whether they have access to the highway system or not;
  • Create tourism packages that include air transport services in order to market domestic tourism.

The financing granted for these different measures will be announced with the next budget. The terms and conditions of these programs will be announced later.

Quotes:

We want everyone who lives in more isolated regions to be able to travel affordably, and for Quebecers who are interested in visiting those regions to be able to travel there more easily. We also want businesses to be able to launch and grow no matter which region they’re in. To do this, our government is determined to act fast and work with different socio-economic partners in regional air transport to find long-lasting solutions and benefits for everyone. Together, let’s build a new Quebec where transport is modern, comfortable and efficient.

– Philippe Couillard, Premier of Québec

Today, we are laying the groundwork for an integrated strategy for developing regional air transport. We invited all of our partners to a big collaborative project, and I am convinced that the work we’ve accomplished will allow us to go even further. Our objectives have been clear from the start and that’s why we put measures in place to address the concerns and questions of our main partners in air transport.

– Véronyque Tremblay, Minister for Transport