Air Canada CEO hopes Trump’s vow to cut taxes will spur similar change here

Air Canada CEO hopeful tax cuts coming

MONTREAL — The CEO of Air Canada said he hopes President Donald Trump’s promise Thursday to U.S. airline executives to cut taxes will spur similar action on this side of the border.

Calin Rovinescu said such a move might prompt Canada to cut various fees, charges and taxes that represent about 43 per cent of the average ticket price.

“We certainly hope that as other countries become more competitive, Canada will do likewise,” he said in Montreal after the airline, Canada’s largest, unveiled a new look for its planes and uniforms for its employees.

Trump promised airline executives at the White House that he would lower their corporate tax burden and roll back regulations. He also said he supports privatizing America’s air traffic control system.

Air Canada (TSX:AC) has long complained about the costs of flying in Canada that it says has prompted millions of passengers annually to catch flights from nearby American airports.

A proposal under review by the federal government to privatize Canadian airports would end up costing passengers more, Rovinescu said, adding that he believes new owners would raise fees to earn a rate of return. Critics, however, say airport privatization may actually bring down those fees as it would encourage greater competition.

A spokesman for Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the government wants to make the most of growing air travel, tourism and business opportunities between Canada and the rest of the world.

“We will achieve this by supporting greater choice, better service, lower costs, and new rights for middle-class Canadian travellers,” Marc Roy said in an email.

Rovinescu also said he thinks Canada could ultimately benefit if a ban on immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries is reinstated by U.S. courts.

“Canada becomes a destination that is very welcoming both in terms of tourists and immigrants, so we will see, I would think, some potential benefits flowing back to Canada from that.”

WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky expressed a similar view earlier this week, saying uncertainty surrounding new U.S. border policies could present a silver lining by increasing foreign tourist interest in Canada.

Rovinescu said a “small number of passengers” were displaced when Trump signed an executive order implementing the travel ban, but later reached their destinations after it was lifted.

“We’re certainly hopeful we’re not going to have further operational issues.”

The ban on travel prompted a large decline in international travellers searching online for flights to the U.S., especially from people in the banned countries, said Patrick Surry of Hopper, a mobile application that uses data to predict and analyze airfares.

Global searches for U.S. flights dropped 17 per cent in the week following the ban and 33 per cent from Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia and Sudan, compared to the final three weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency. No data was available for Yemen.

Canadian searches to the U.S. were down about four per cent, said Surry.

 

Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter.

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Kelowna Rockets ready to evaluate rookies

Rookie camp goes Aug 20, with team’s main training camp set to start Aug. 24

Kelowna actor featured in TV series

Tristan Huff is competing in The Whole Package, which airs Oct. 11

Kelowna judge who cried during a victim statement to rule on recusing herself

The judge will decide if she’ll disqualify herself from sentencing a man for sexual assault

Okanagan water board seeks mussels funding

Okanagan Basin Water Board sends request to new federal fisheries minister

Kelowna Drag King rocks out into the spotlight

Suiting up in leather and spikes, to compete alongside the Queens

Happy birthday Boler: An anniversary gathering of the cutest campers in Winnipeg

Hundreds of the unique trailers in Winnipeg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Manitoba invention

Tim Hortons says its China expansion will include menu with congee, matcha

Coffee chain plans to open 1,500 stores in Asia over the next decade

How to help B.C. wildfire victims

Donations being taken by many organizations, BC Hydro waiving bills

Whole city of Kimberley on an evacuation alert due to wildfires

Residents woke up Friday morning being told to get ready to leave any moment

Feds to allow charities to engage in political, but not partisan, activity

The plan is to allow charities to pursue political activities

Trump suggests Canada has been sidelined from latest NAFTA negotiations

Canadian officials have insisted they’re unfazed by being left out of the discussions

Photographer files complaint with police after alleged assault on the job

Toronto photographer says he was attacked while covering a protest

Publication ban lifted on details about Fredericton shooting that killed 4

Judge lifts publication ban on court documents related to the Fredericton shooting

Snowy Mountain fire travelling away from communities

The Snowy Mountain fire near Keremeos remains at 13,359 hectares in size

Most Read