Regional Air Transport Summit

In cooperation with the Société du Plan Nord, the Ministère held the Regional Air Transport Summit In February 2018. Over 300 people took part in the event.

Main issues and challenges

Québec is characterized by its low population density, vast territory and harsh climate, among other things. Given the importance of economic development in regions, along with the geographic location and remoteness of certain communities, the gouvernement du Québec considers this is particularly important to find solutions to the following regional air transport problems:

  • The high cost for this mode of transport
  • The frequency of flights and quality of service
  • The state of airport infrastructures

Concerted effort

To prepare for the Summit, the gouvernement du Québec planned a series of consultations, both with the industry and key stakeholders in various regions across Québec. The Ministère wishes to thank everyone who contributed to the efforts that led to possible solutions in regional air transport, whether by participating in one of the 12 regional meetings or one of the 11 sectoral meetings, or by sending their comments and suggestions to the Summit organization.

Concrete measures

At the close of the Summit, the gouvernement du Québec announced eight measures to improve regional air transport in Québec. The funding for these measures will be known when the next budget is presented. The terms and conditions of the programs will be announced subsequently.

Creation of an assistance program for regional airport infrastructure

This program will help finance a variety of infrastructure and equipment work necessary for airport activities.

Implementation of an assistance program for regional air service

This program will aim to improve and develop the services provided by air carriers already present in Québec and attract new stakeholders.

Simplification and improvement of the Airfare Reduction Program

The Airfare Reduction Program will be expanded to include the Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and Côte-Nord regions. It will also improve both the percentage underwritten and the limit.

Reflection on concrete measures for travelling at lower costs

The Ministère will work together with the ministère du Tourisme, the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec and the airlines present.

Creation of a specific air transport communication channel with the federal government

This channel will provide a unique interface to convey the concerns expressed during regional consultations and the Summit.

More effective management of State employees travelling to Québec regions

Minister responsible for Government Administration and Ongoing Program Review and Chair of the Conseil du trésor will be mandated with implementing an integrated air transport strategy for the gouvernement du Québec.

Creation of a permanent national working group with a mandate to:

  • Continuously assess the governmental measures in place;
  • Determine the elements that could be the subject of representations by the gouvernement du Québec to the federal government;
  • Carry out joint projects for the industry, such as promoting regional air transport and conducting studies;
  • Address the issue of chartered flights, an essential component of the Plan Nord and the development of Québec’s economy;
  • Reflect on the implementation of a floor-price program for certain regional services, involving a financial compensation mechanism to ensure compliance with the floor price;
  • Analyze the costs and scope of abolishing the QST, and determine to what extent this would be the best option for reducing ticket prices;
  • Analyze whether the costs associated with such a measure would have the desired effects and whether it would be possible to allocate costs differently to maximize benefits for citizens.

Creation of regional committees with a mandate to:

  • Define priorities for the development of air transport in their region;
  • Develop the solutions recommended by the regions by encouraging synergy between carriers and socioeconomic stakeholders in regional air transport;
  • Improve air transport organization and services in regions that are hard to reach by road, or have poor or no road access;
  • Develop tourist packages that include air services in order to market regional tourism.