Flight Costs – You Can Help Make a Change
Mike McNaney, VP Corporate Affairs for West Jet – photo 25News
Prince George, B.C.- For Mike McNaney, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for WestJet, there is something air travellers can do to help bring down the cost of flights.
“Contact your MP” said McNaney to a Prince George Chamber of Commerce lunch gathering.
It’s all about changing Federal policies and funding.
McNaney says with billions invested in capital, plus operational, maintenance, taxes and landing fees, WestJet’s average profit per passenger is $14 dollars. That doesn’t give an airline a lot of wriggle room if the flights aren’t full or the cost of fuel jumps.
McNaney explained that U.S. carriers are able to offer discount or lower priced flights because so much of the industry south of the border is subsidized “We are competing against the U.S. Treasury.” He says with American government funding readily available for airports, runway expansions along with favourable fuel taxes and landing fees with a policy that caps Airport improvement fees at just $4 dollars, it is no surprise that American carriers can offer low cost flights. In fact, he says Southwest Airlines has had the right to offer it’s low cost service in Canada for the past two decades, “And has made the conscious decision not to fly here. It says a lot about the state of our (Canadian) industry and the cost to do business here.”
McNaney says the Federal Government has been listening to the challenges faced by Canadian Airports and airlines ” The current government has been carrying out a wide range of consultations on transport policy in general, not just aviation. We have certainly participated in those consultations, as has the local airport, I am hopeful the messages are being heard, and I am hopeful that the economic generation and spin off that this industry brings to Canada, I am hopeful that recognition of that is occurring.” He says a lowering of costs in operating would increase opportunities for services, “If you lower operating costs overall, there is an opportunity then for more flights, more service, because more can be provided at an economically profitable perspective.”
But if the playing field is levelled in order to entice low cost American carriers to offer service in Canada, would that not put extra pressure on Canadian operators like WestJet? “If we actually get to a point in terms of public policy where those other carriers that don’t fly here actually are serving here, that means we are establishing the right to an equal playing field in Canada that is going to benefit everybody. So yes you will get more competition, that’s fine, we’re going to have an overall lower operating cost in Canada, that will benefit every operator, the carriers, the airports, but will ultimately benefit the consumer and that will lead to more flights and more service.”
McNaney explained why WestJet cancelled its direct flight between Prince George and Calgary as being a decision based on the “softness of the market” but says WestJet is keeping an eye on the kind of activity that may be forthcoming with the recent approval of the PacificNorthwest LNG project and the opportunities that may present themselves should that project move forward.
Don’t wait for LNG just get busy and get that beef to China that our local MLA’s are talking about. I seem to remember something about a meat packing plant in PG.
When oil was over 100$ a barrel, Westjet said the ticket prices were a reflection of this cost.Now that oil has tanked, prices have actually went up higher than the days of 100$ a barrel oil. So they put in the extra baggage charges, adjusted carry-on rules.igh.. and still.. prices are higher.
In other words, nobody believes you or your airline.
“Adjusted carry on rules?” Yeah, right. They really need to start enforcing those rules. They’d make a tonne of cash if they started making people check their bags instead of allowing people to carry on 3 or 4 obviously oversized items.
Actually, in the past couple of years I have been disturbed to find that the airlines actually encouraged me to carry on bags rather than check them.
FYI fuel is purchased in U.S. dollars, so even with fuel costs down, the low Canadian dollar means there have been no savings for Canadian carriers.
Airlines are all about economies of scale. There is not enough passengers in the North Central Interior to support much more airline business than we presently have. Even with a possible (I repeat possible) LNG plant in Prince Rupert it would make little difference to the overall Airline Operations in North Central BC. Nor would Site C make a big difference.
Air China Cargo established a new flight from Edmonton to Shanghai in July of 2015.
The flight which runs three times a week, is the first for the company in Canada and includes Edmonton on a cargo run that flies to Dallas Texas.
The flight will run Shanghai to Edmonton to Dallas, and Dallas, Edmonton, Shanghai, three days per week. Will open up huge cargo opportunities for Edmonton and the Region, and one would expect that beef would be included.
They will use a Boeing 777-200F freighter. Edmonton Intl Airport estimates that this service will generate $31 million GDP gain per year for the region.
Have a nice day.
So…basically he’s looking for a government subsidy?
Sort of, but he’s not just begging, he’s asking for a level playing field versus the US.
About airport fees, are those millions paid for all that fancy artwork in the Vancouver airport worth it?
Hey I just can see it now, lets fly to the Vancouver airport to look at the art, ya right.
I forgot this, at Vancouver instead of millions spent on artwork how about instead spend it a system to get people from one side of the terminal to the other. They sure got their priorities mixed up.
A lot of airports seem to be designed to maximize the exposure of passengers to shops rather than to make things easier for passengers.
How about doing it like the Samoan airlines does it . They weight the passengers and charge them by the pound .
air flight is cheap. It is when transport Canada got out of the airport business we started to get fees.
Remember back in 1984, flight to Vancouver and back cost $800.00, today even with the airport fees, it is under $450.00. If you factor in the rate of inflation that $800 flight should be costing us closer to $2000
in the grand scheme of things, it is cheap. I would rather fly with a profitable airline, than one that can not afford to maintain the planes properly. Think about it.
I had a good laugh reading this story, a airline company operating out of our airport asking the public for political intervention assistance. This goes to show just how far away we are from having massive international cargo jets using our extended runway, our fuel depot, and our global logistics park.
Right wing dreams, turning into return on investment nightmares… and the next right wing dream is beef flying through the air… so how much of our tax dollars is it going to take to make that a reality?
I wonder where they plan to build the abattoir and feed lot for the flying cows ? Willow river would be far enough down wind . First cows then pigs . Yikes . Be careful what you ask for . You might just get it .
I fail to see any left or right wing priorities here, but just for the sake of knowing, please be so kind and tell me what the left wing dreams are in respect to airports and international trade by air in our fair city and area? Are there any or do we just leave everything up to a stroke of good luck while waiting for others to make something happen?
So they get the message, DON”T USE THEM.
Not that everyone will do it
but if they did the airlines would wake up really quickly and adjust their inane policies and outlandish rates.
I will give them a bit of credit, the airports charge some ridiculously high landing fees that someone has to pay for and that would be the flyers.
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