Transat: Trudeau’s potential bailout is “very good news”

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According to Transat, reports of a Trudeau government bailout for the Canadian aviation industry are “welcome news.”The Globe and Mail says the Trudeau government is quietly preparing an airline bailout; something the Canadian aviation industry has been asking for for months.

Invited to comment, Transat spokesperson Christophe Hennebelle made the following statement to TravelPulse Canada:

“Any news that the government is finalizing its plans to honor its pledged support for the hardest hit airline industry is very good news, if we are to ensure that the Canadian industry can weather the crisis, stay competitive on the scene. Clearly, after eight months, time is running out for our industry, with so many other countries already taking action months ago to secure their airlines and workers. ”

“We believe government support should be provided both in the form of immediate liquidity (low interest rate loans / discounts) and a proactive, science-based approach to alternatives to blanket border closures. and the quarantines in place in Canada since the start of the pandemic, ”Hennebelle said.

Today’s Globe and Mail business report says the Liberal cabinet is “deliberating on a targeted bailout for Canadai’s airline industry that includes low-interest loan offers and cuts in airport fee increases to help it cope with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The set of options Cabinet is considering recognizes that air travel is essential to the Canadian economy and could feature in the November economic statement or in the next federal budget, due in February or March, according to a senior government and three industry sources. . The Globe and Mail does not identify sources because the government official is not authorized to discuss Cabinet proceedings and others are not authorized to speak on behalf of their companies. ”

The Globe and Mail report says Ottawa plans to make its bailout offer conditional on two potentially controversial demands: “Public money cannot be used to pay airline executives, and carriers could be asked to resume flights on roads that were closed during the pandemic, according to the government source. ”

Canadian airlines have noted that other countries around the world have bailed out their airlines with massive financial aid programs, while the Trudeau government has offered comprehensive business packages such as the CERB program, but no help. direct for the devastated aviation industry; a key component of the travel and tourism economy in Canada.

Canada’s tourism economy represents about one in ten jobs across the country.

WestJet earlier this month cut 80% of its capacity to the Atlantic provinces, while Air Canada cut 30 routes across the country earlier this year.

“If you look at the airline industry, it has taken a hit,” Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said at an independent press conference Thursday, according to the Globe and Mail report. a government. We continue to work with the airline industry and all relevant stakeholders to examine the next steps of how we can support them and support workers and communities.

“We continue to work with all of our partners to ensure that we can position our company to help lead Canada’s economic recovery,” a WestJet spokesperson said early Friday afternoon. “COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our industry and we continue to have discussions with the federal government on appropriate assistance for our sector.

“We have not received any details regarding support at this time. ”

Other Canadian airlines have said they are unwilling to comment or do not have enough first-hand knowledge of the situation to make a statement.

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