1.2 Canada is a strong candidate for a next-generation air transport agreement with the European Community with its market-oriented economic and transportation policy and high regulatory standards. Air transport between the EU and Canada doubled between 2000 and 2005 and Canada is a leading EU partner in air transport. In 2005, 8.5 million passengers travelled between the EU and Canada.  The convergence of legislation can only be achieved at the Community level. Canada and the Community have already taken the first steps to achieve a high degree of regulatory convergence, and this partnership can gradually become an open airspace between the European Community and Canada. The proposed new partnership would send a clear signal to other third countries to join the trend towards a more flexible international framework for air transport. The blue-sky policy calls for a proactive approach to the liberalisation of air services agreements (ASAs). In particular, it will be a matter of negotiating reciprocal open-ski agreements if it is in Canada`s best interests. It does not support an undifferentiated “uniform” approach to air transport negotiations and recognizes that, in some cases, more caution is warranted, particularly where there are concerns about a level playing field or where new services may destabilize existing services valued by Canadian communities. 4.8 In particular, European carriers could be at a disadvantage compared to U.S. and Canadian airlines if the eu-Canada market is not open to the same extent as the U.S.-U.S.-U.S. markets. As a result of the recent “open skies” agreement between Canada and the United States, U.S.
air carriers will enjoy significant access to the EU-Canada market through the fifth and sixth freedoms. The competitive position of EU airlines would be greatly enhanced if they had unlimited access not only to the EU-Canada market, but also to the market between the US and Canada. The draft EU-US Air Services Agreement would give EU airlines five rights rights between the US and Canada, but those rights must also be conferred on Canada to allow EU airlines to exploit these opportunities. Given the evolution of integration between the EU and the US aviation markets, on the one hand, and the Canadian and American markets, it would be wise to extend this integration to the EU-Canada market. 5.2 Negotiating an open airspace agreement with Canada would seek to open up both market access and investment opportunities. Some Member States have already implemented reciprocal market access with Canada. However, some agreements remain quite restrictive. This unbalanced framework has created inequalities in the possibilities of Community air carriers, which are not compatible with equal opportunities for all EU air carriers in the internal market. The expected economic benefits of such an agreement have been demonstrated by a recent study. A comprehensive agreement on air services at the community level would make the Community`s aviation relationship with Canada consistent and give all community air carriers equal rights and opportunities for air services in Canada. 5.4 In this context, the European Commission recommends that the Council allow the Commission to enter into negotiations with Canada for a comprehensive agreement on air services. In 2006, Canada introduced a new international air policy called Blue Sky to modernize its approach to international air travel.
For more information on this policy, please visit Transport Canada: Canada`s Blue Sky Policy website.