WASHINGTON and OTTAWA – Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) today marked the 25th anniversary of the 1995 Canada-U.S. Air Transport Agreement, the liberalized air services agreement entered into on February 24, 1995, that led directly to more choices for travelers and a more competitive and price-conscious market. The agreement served as the foundation for the expanded Open Skies agreement in 2007.
Looking at it 25 years later, it’s difficult to describe what a game changer the agreement was at the time,” said Joyce Carter, President and CEO of Halifax International Airport Authority, and Chair of ACI-NA’s Canadian Policy Council. “Twenty-five years ago, Canada’s airports met the challenge of new growth. Today, Canada’s airports’ plans have evolved to encompass not only passenger growth, but to incorporate programs that address the needs of diverse travelers, environmental sustainability and enhanced safety.”
“Trade between the United States and Canada impacts every state in the union, but it’s most important to the states along the U.S. Canada border,” said Rick Tucker, CEO of Huntsville International Airport, and Chair of ACI-NA’s U.S. Policy Council. “The 1995 agreement boosted long haul tourism from Canada and opened doors for American manufacturers to expand their markets and build highly effective and competitive supply chains that spanned North America.”
With almost $630 billion in trade annually –close to $2 billion every day – between Canada and the United States, market-driven cross border air service is an essential tool for economic growth, with 32 million passengers flying between U.S. and Canadian destinations in 2018 alone. The sustainability of tourism, business travel, and trade in goods and services can draw a direct line between liberalized air services and new economic opportunity.
The 1995 agreement came at a pivotal time for airports and passengers on both sides of the border. In Canada, the newly independent airports created in the early 1990s were free to invest in infrastructure and services that would meet the growing demand, based on their own community-centric plans. From that point to today, these direct investments have added up to $27 billion in improvements and expansions.