European Union set to sign open skies agreement with Canada


Earlier we reported that the European Union and Canada have reached a deal that will open up the aviation market to each other. Now the European Union Transport Ministers and Canada are set to sign the agreement. This means that Canadian and European airlines have the freedom to fly between any Canadian airport and any European airport.

A source in the EU’s Czech presidency told Reuters that “EU transport ministers supported the presidency compromise on the EU-Canada aviation agreement.”

Official signing is set for May 6 at the summit in Prague and follows a similar agreement between the EU and the United States.

The agreement would also ease restrictions on foreign ownership of airlines. Canada plans on raising the foreign ownership limit to 49 percent from 25 percent. Both Air Canada and Westjet are in favor of raising the limit because they want more “inward investment.”

In a later phase of the deal, investors would be able to set up and control airlines in each other’s markets, and in a final stage, airlines would be able to fly freely within each others’ markets and onwards from there to other regions.

A European Commission study suggests that the new agreement would “generate an additional 500,000 passengers in its first year, plus over 1,000 jobs and economic benefits of at least €72 million (US$95 million).”