A Vital Industry in Search of New Policies: Air Transport in Canada

Published: Spring 2003    |    By: Fred Lazar    |    Volume 60, No. 3


Few businesses are as important as the airline industry for the smooth and efficient working of a modern society. Air transport has come to play an irreplaceable role in service to commerce and to the travel needs of the millions of people who fly every day. It is a global, technologically advanced and dynamic growth industry. In March, 2003 the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) reported that the output of air transport had increased by a factor of 31 since 1960, while world GDP increased by a factor of 4. It is also an important industry in terms of the numbers it employs, directly and indirectly. These observations are as true in Canada as anywhere in the world. To take but one Canadian indication of the direct value of the industry, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) reported that the operations of Pearson International Airport in Toronto generated $14 billion in business revenues and 138,000 jobs in the Greater Toronto Region in the year 2000. 1 Air transport services (air carriers, air cargo, and general aviation) accounted for at least 85% of the total impact.

This industry is too important to the Canadian economy to be left to operate under outdated rules and subject to avoidable costs that impair its efficiency. Regrettably, that is the case.

About the Author

Dr. Fred Lazar is associate professor of economics, Schulich School of Business, York University