Canadian Senate Committee Calls for Aviation Improvements

The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications has issued a report recommending that the Canadian Government create a single, cohesive national air travel strategy to train new pilots rather than hire temporary foreign ones and improve the competiveness of Canadian airports.

The report calls for the training of new pilots, as shortages exist in the northern and remote regions. “A lack of qualified individuals could seriously impede the air transport industry’s future capacity to expand, thus further reducing competition in this sector,” the report states.

The committee stresses the need for infrastructure improvements to regional and northern airports. In particular, the committee highlights the state and availability of runways at these facilities. The Northern Air Transport Association indicates that only 10 paved runways currently exist across the three northernmost territories. By comparison, Alaska has 61.

“The lack of paved runways is forcing air carriers to use older aircraft, thereby increasing operating costs in northern and remote areas,” the committee report notes.

The Senate Committee also endorses broader participation from the country’s airlines and other aviation stakeholders on airport authority boards. “It is essential that airport authorities be accountable for their management. Airports are public infrastructure that must be administrated with a view to the collective well-being of all Canadians,” the report stresses.