Published in Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame publication “The Flyer” >>
October 2016 >> 

In 2014, we celebrated 100 years of the first commercial flight when a flying boat carrying one passenger flew 21 miles from St. Petersburg, Florida across the Bay of Tampa.

No one could have possibly have imagined then the extraordinary success achieved by civil aviation in the next 100 years!

This was by no means a linear progression.

The First World War provided a surge of innovation. The occasional bombs – dropped by hand at the start of the war – were soon followed by thousands of kilos of bombs carried by giant, two-engined airplanes. Engines had quadrupled in power, with a far better power to weight ratio.

By the end of the war, more than 150,000 aircraft had been produced, and about 1/3rd were still operational.

But those airplanes were not designed to carry freight or passengers, and no one attempted to set up regular passenger air services. However, many people saw great potential for freight and postal services.

At the end of World War 1, the French government decided to set up an air mail route nearly 3000 kilometers long from France through Spain and Morocco, and eventually to Dakar

1917 brought regular mail flights between Buenos Aires and Natal (Northern Brazil) and, subsequently between Santiago Chile and Buenos Aires.

In Canada, the first bush flying took place in 1918 to survey the Quebec wilderness, and flying boats were being used for forestry patrols in Northern Ontario and Quebec.

Air mail services of the R.A.F. to the Middle East from 1921 on laid the foundation for Imperial Airways. The U.K. to Australia service was inaugurated in 1927.

By 1931, KLM was operating between Amsterdam and Djakarta, and in 1933, Air France was born.

Air mail expanded rapidly in North America, and major U.S. banks became regular customers.

In 1928, Juan Trippe’s new Pan American Airways started its first international passenger route between Key West and Havana.

By 1934, Canadian Airways was flying 5.7 million pounds of freight, almost as much as the U.S. airlines and British Imperial Airways combined.

Trans Canada Airlines was established in 1937 to carry mail across the country – and, eventually, passengers.

The 1930’s brought better engines, metal structures replacing wood, retractable under carriages, and variable pitch propellers.

Safety and efficiency improved substantially, as the airliner evolved into a large monoplane, carrying up to 30 passengers plus baggage.

The Boeing 247 revolutionized air travel. With two 550 horsepower Pratt & Whitney “wasp radial” engines, it could fly 50 mph faster than any other airliner; and it was more economical to operate.

The Douglas DC-3, developed in the mid 1930’s, was virtually unmatched for adaptability, whether for mainline passenger routes or for military purposes. 17,399 were produced in total. General Eisenhower rated it as one of the four most significant items of war-winning equipment!

The Second World War accelerated the development of more efficient piston engines, and aerodynamics.

But bigger was not always better. The most powerful piston engine ever built developed 4,300 horsepower and had 28 cylinders. Reliability became a big problem.

The Second World War also signaled the introduction of jet engines.

The first commercial airliner powered by a turbo jet engine was the Dehavilland Comet, which had four Dehavilland “Ghost turbo jets”, each developing 5000 pounds of thrust.

In 1955, Pratt & Whitney’s JT3 engine developed 13,500 pounds of thrust, and achieved a 24% fuel burn improvement over the Comet’s engines.

The productivity of passenger airliners quadrupled in the 60`s. The Douglas DC-8 and the Boeing 707`s carried twice the number of passengers at twice the speed of the larger piston-driven passenger airliners.

The Boeing 747, in 1970, offering three times the capacity of the earlier Boeing 707, introduced the so-called `wide-body` – and the beginning of mass travel.
With the exception of the supersonic Concorde which flew 100 passengers at twice the speed of sound, the speed of passenger airplanes has remained around 0.8 mach, avoiding the problems associated with crossing the sound barrier. The Concorde was a great technical achievement but an economic failure. It ceased operating in 2003.

The turbo-fan, developed in the late 80’s, introduced a larger fan which passed part of the air around the engine making it run cooler and quieter, substantially increasing the efficiency of the turbo-jet. The original turbofan had a one to one by-pass ratio.

Successive increases in the size and range of wide-body commercial airplanes, required bigger, more powerful and efficient engines.

The largest airliner today, the Airbus A-380, was certified to 853 passengers. It has a range of 15,700 kms (8,500 miles) and a cruising speed of 0.86 mach.
The 3-class configuration seats 544 passengers.

The Boeing B.777X proposal, still to be produced, will have a range of 14,000 kms and a 440 passenger configuration which Boeing believes will match the seat/cost of the A.380.

Turbofan engines have successfully increased in thrust and by-pass ratio. The Boeing 777X engines will require upward of 105,000 pounds of thrust.

And fuel efficiency has constantly improved. The current commercial airplane consumes per seat barely 18% compared with the Comet with a by-pass ratio of up to 10/1.

The industry has set itself the ambitious target of becoming totally carbon neutral by 2050. Increasingly efficient turbo engines with higher by-pass ratios, less polluting bio-fuel, and perhaps hybrid electrical propulsion – all should help achieve that demanding target.

The various developments in our propulsion systems have largely but not uniquely contributed to making commercial aviation a very efficient, worldwide, mass transportation system.

Today, the aviation industry transports safely more than 3.8 billion passengers p.a., and moves travelers from one side of the planet to the other in less than a day.

The price of air travel continues to fall in relative terms, and traffic continues to grow along its historical growth curve of 4.5-5 % p.a., at least for the foreseeable future, as nearly everyone joining the “middle class, particularly but not uniquely in Asia, aspires to becoming an international tourist.

Pierre J Jeanniot, O.C., C.Q.

Mirabel Airport – A Failed Dream

Canadian Hall of Fame’s magazine “The Flyer”, Fall 2014 edition.
Mirabel Airport – A Failed Dream   >>

Next year, 2015 will mark the 40th anniversary of the opening of Mirabel Airport – which may have gone down in history as one of the best examples of an ill-conceived project and chronic waste of tax-payers’ money.

Mirabel Airport became a source of great embarrassment which still lingers today.

In the late 1960’s – perhaps instilled by the euphoria of Expo ’67 – the air transport market was growing rapidly in the double digits. Projections of continued growth rates of this magnitude gave rise to concern that tremendous pressure would be put on Montreal’s Dorval airport.

The government of the day commissioned an important consulting firm to study the matter and propose what should be done to accommodate such rapidly growing traffic. Supersonic airplanes were on the horizon, and projects for developing such aircraft led to Concorde, which was built in Europe. Boeing was at the time also contemplating a supersonic airplane.

It was envisaged that, within a decade, hundreds of supersonic airplanes would be operating, and that the number of passengers would grow at the same double digit rate, possibly reaching over 50 million passengers a year.

The anticipated noise levels of hundreds of supersonic airplanes was naturally felt to be unacceptable to the population living close to Dorval, and the federal government insisted that a location be found to construct a new airport sufficiently away from the centre of Montreal.

I was approached at the time by a consulting firm which was working on what became the Mirabel project to participate in the proposed study.

I declined.   I was highly suspicious of the linear projections of 12 percent growth a year continuing on indefinitely, as well as the number of supersonic aircraft that were projected to be built.

Air Canada gave a negative answer to the government regarding the potential construction of this new “super airport”.

From the start, it became increasingly obvious that the handling of the Mirabel project was deeply flawed.

Just as the Department of Transport was planning to build a “super airport” outside Montreal, other government bodies were negotiating bilateral agreements with various countries which required that more points of entry be granted for international flights arriving in Canada.

Indeed, shortly after the new airport opened at Mirabel, a large part of international traffic was allowed to land in Toronto without ever having to land in Mirabel.

Another major mis-calculation was over-estimating the growth of supersonic air travel. Studies at the time indicated that hundreds of aircraft of this type would be in operation, and that many would be landing in Montreal being the only point of entry for international travel.

In fact, as we know, Boeing decided not to build a supersonic transport, and Concorde only produced a handful of aircraft, none of which ever came to Montreal – or to Canada – on a regular basis.

The early 1970’s was the time of the first oil crisis: prices of fuel increased dramatically overnight in response to the creation of OPEC – and the growth of traffic to Canada plummeted.   This combined with the opening of Toronto to international air traffic brought the growth of traffic to Montreal to a virtual standstill – if not a slight decrease.

In addition, the political emergence of Quebec’s nationalistic movement and its impact on decision-making heads of Quebec-based Anglophone businesses accelerated an exodus of head-offices to Toronto, which was becoming Canada’s main business centre. Traffic to Montreal suffered in consequence.

What’s more, Mirabel’s site in the lower Laurentian mountains northwest of Montreal had been intended to serve not only Montreal but also Ottawa, the national capital. But no ground link was provided between Ottawa and Mirabel, other than short access roads to secondary roads; and no rail link was built to provide better access between Montreal, Ottawa and Mirabel.

The required vast network of express ways surrounding the “super airport” was never built.   The dedication of international flights to Mirabel – while domestic and trans-border traffic continued to use Dorval – making the connection of passengers between these two airports highly impractical.

Construction of Montreal’s Mirabel “super airport” gave rise to a judicial saga which lasted more than forty years between the expropriated farmers of the Mirabel area numbering some three thousand and the Federal Government which had grossly over-estimated the size of the operational zone which would be required.

The area envisaged at the outset for the airport amounted to almost one hundred thousand acres of prime agricultural land. This land was expropriated in its entirety – but then largely given back or put up for sale in 2002.

The concept of Mirabel’s design was said to be revolutionary, in that it included no bridges giving direct access from the main terminal to the airplane. Reaching the airplane was via Passenger Transfer Vehicle, or PTV, which essentially moved passengers from the main terminal to the airplane – wherever that airplane was.

The opening of the airport in 1975 was equally unfortunate. The first flight landing in Mirabel from Ottawa carried the Minister of Transport, the Chairman of Air Canada, and a number of high level dignitaries.   These VIPs were unable to disembark as planned, as the PTV which was to be used did not perform. After fifteen minutes of confusion, stairs were eventually brought to unload these important passengers – who then had to walk to the main terminal!

The problems with the PTV’s were easy to fix, and they are indeed still used at Dorval from time to time to transport passengers between the main terminal and off-gate aircraft.

Fortunately, the extensive redesign of airplanes and engines has very substantially reduced noise and gas emissions, and although one can assume that people living close to an airport will always complain, the environmental footprint of these new engines and airplanes was significantly reduced .

Dorval’s runway capacity may well be able to accommodate twice the volume of traffic it receives today – which is significantly below the one hundred million passengers a year projected by the Mirabel project.

In 2002, Mirabel stopped receiving passengers and all civil aviation flights were returned to Dorval airport, which was re-named “Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport” in honor, ironically, of the man who originated the idea to build Mirabel!

Today, Mirabel Airport houses a number of freight and aerospace industries, including helicopters – and of course, Bombardier – which finally provides some justification for its existence.


Pierre J Jeanniot
President & CEO, Jinmag Inc.
Director General Emeritus, IATA
Former President & CEO, Air Canada

Opinion piece by Pierre Jeanniot in La Presse

L’entretien des avions est devenu une industrie en elle-même:
Au-delà de la main-d’œuvre, il faut des investisseurs, de bons gestionnaires et des équipements modernes
La Presse – Opinion Piece
Montréal, June 1, 2012  >>

Le monde de l’aviation civile vit depuis une vingtaine d’années une transformation peu commune. La volatilité des coûts du carburant, les pressions environnementales, les préoccupations envers la sécurité, les redevances et taxes excessives ainsi que l’apparition des transporteurs à rabais, ont forcé les compagnies aériennes à se restructurer et à repenser leur fonctionnement pour tout simplement assurer leur survie.

Et encore une fois, malheureusement, un bon nombre de lignes aériennes se voient dans l’obligation de demander des concessions majeures à leur personnel.

Parmi les tendances observées depuis plusieurs années, une des plus significatives fut sans contredit la décision, par un grand nombre de compagnies aériennes, de confier l’entretien majeur de leurs appareils à des firmes spécialisées, de manière à diminuer leurs coûts. Ainsi d’importants centres de maintenance, réparation et révision d’aéronefs (M.R.R.) ont été créés un peu partout à travers le monde. On peut penser à Lufthansa Technik ou à HAECO (Honk Kong Aircraft Engineering Company) qui figurent parmi les plus importants. L’entretien des avions est devenu une industrie en elle-même.

Il y a plusieurs années, les centres de services techniques d’Air Canada de Montréal et de Winnipeg s’étaient forgé une réputation fort enviable sur le marché, suffisamment pour attirer des contrats provenant de l’extérieur. L’avenir s’annonçait suffisamment bien pour cette division pour entrevoir la création d’une unité distincte et rentable.

Mais en 2004, Air Canada était dans une impasse financière majeure et, dans le cadre d’une restructuration sanctionnée par les tribunaux, ses créanciers ont imposé, pour la survie de l’entreprise, des conditions strictes. Air Canada est devenue une filiale en propriété exclusive de Gestion ACE Aviation Inc. (ACE) et certaines de ses activités ont été regroupées en entités distinctes pour être revendues, de façon à générer les fonds requis pour la relance du service aérien. C’est ainsi que furent vendus Aéroplan et Air Canada Jazz de même qu’éventuellement une partie de la division des services techniques d’Air Canada (appelée ACTS). En fait, l’ancienne division de la maintenance d’Air Canada a été scindée en deux : la maintenance des cellules, des moteurs et des composants ont été confiées à ACTS tandis qu’Air Canada a conservé les activités quotidiennes de maintenance des appareils (la « maintenance en ligne ») ainsi que d’autres fonctions – les syndicats concernés ayant approuvé cette restructuration.

En 2007, ACE a ainsi vendu ACTS à un groupe d’investisseurs qui se proposaient de la faire croître en diversifiant sa clientèle. Un an plus tard, l’entreprise adoptait le nom Aveos Performance aéronautique. Mais déjà en 2010, les actionnaires initiaux baissaient les bras et radiaient leur investissement de 800 millions $ dans Aveos. Air Canada, qui ne voulait pas être prise au dépourvu, aida Aveos à se recapitaliser et lui accorda ses contrats de maintenance à long terme à des tarifs qui auraient dû lui assurer une stabilité financière — le temps qu’elle puisse mettre en œuvre son nouveau modèle commercial. Malheureusement, Aveos n’a pas réussi à fonctionner de façon rentable et à élargir suffisamment sa clientèle, et elle a fermé abruptement ses portes le 19 mars dernier, laissant derrière elle 2 600 employés sans emploi dans diverses villes canadiennes, principalement à Montréal. Il serait inexact d’affirmer qu’ Air Canada ait précipité la chute d’Aveos, bien au contraire.
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Sans la restructuration de 2004, il est probable qu’Air Canada n’existerait plus aujourd’hui. Les 2,2 milliards $ obtenus par ACE de la vente de ses trois divisions (Aéroplan, Jazz et ACTS) ont notamment permis à Air Canada de récompenser les investisseurs qui avaient rendu possible la relance de la compagnie, mais également d’acquérir de nouveaux appareils, de rafraîchir les appareils existants et ainsi d’être plus compétitif dans le marché mondial de l’aviation.

Depuis la fermeture d’Aveos, Air Canada a confié l’entretien de certains de ses appareils à différentes entreprises. Elle privilégie, dans la mesure du possible, celles oeuvrant au Québec et répondant à ses standards, et permettant ainsi à certains ex-employés d’Aveos de se trouver un emploi. Mais le gros du bassin de talents demeure en disponibilité et il y a là une opportunité pour Montréal et le Québec.

Un marché de la M.R.R. existe en Amérique du Nord et celui-ci va bien au-delà des simples besoins d’Air Canada. Des études récentes démontrent qu’il existe une pénurie de centres d’entretien pour gros porteurs en Amérique du Nord et que plus de 25% du travail doit être effectué en Asie. Considérant que l’aller-retour d’un appareil en Asie prend au minimum deux jours et que les coûts de deux vols au-dessus du Pacifique sont substantiels, force est d’admettre que les compagnies aériennes trouveraient leur compte si l’offre de service en M.R.R. en Amérique du Nord était augmentée.

Si nous possédons toute la main d’œuvre nécessaire ici même, un défi demeure toutefois et c’est la modernisation des équipements et outils nécessaires à l’entretien des appareils modernes. Les nouvelles techniques largement dépendantes de logiciels sophistiqués et de supports informatiques avancés permettent un gain de productivité important, éliminant ainsi le temps perdu et réduisant les larges inventaires. Combinés à une équipe de gestionnaires chevronnés, ces nouvelles techniques pourraient contribuer à l’essor d’une industrie plus prospère et plus concurrentielle.

Air Canada a affirmé son intention de collaborer pleinement avec des exploitants potentiels aptes à offrir au Canada des services répondant à ses besoins de façon concurrentielle. Il n’est cependant plus possible de compter uniquement sur Air Canada qui, comme bien d’autres lignes aériennes, ne conçoit plus son rôle d’exploiter de telles installations, sans parler des ressources financières requises. Il faut voir plus loin.

Il s’agit ici d’une industrie dont Montréal pourrait continuer de s’enorgueillir. À mon humble avis, un débat devant les tribunaux ne me semble pas constructif et ne ramènera pas les emplois perdus – au pire, il aura peut-être comme conséquence d’éloigner des investisseurs potentiels.

Nos énergies et nos efforts doivent plutôt se concentrer sur la recherche d’investisseurs qui contribueront à la poursuite du développement et de la croissance de cette industrie qui a le potentiel d’être un maillon important de la grappe aéronautique de Montréal. Le temps presse!

High Level Summary of Commercial Aviation’s Current Situation

High Level Summary of Commercial Aviation’s Current Situation
Industry Update
February, 2008  >>

In many respects, commercial aviation enjoyed an exceptional year in 2007 with traffic growing worldwide at 7.4%. The region of maximum growth was the Gulf at +18%, followed by Africa and Latin America at +8%, Asia/Pacific at +7.3%, and Europe and North America at around +5.5%.

During 2006 and 2007, some 4,700 airplanes were ordered from Boeing and Airbus which represents a 30% increase on the size of the current fleet. Both manufacturers considered that aircraft ordered achieved a peak in 2007, and they are expecting to have substantially less orders in 2008 and subsequent years.

Despite this exceptional traffic growth, profit was inadequate. The worldwide net profit for international airlines was $5.5 billion, which represents only 1% of revenues

The cost of fuel and continued pressure on yields contributed to the disappointing profit results.

For 2008, IATA forecasts traffic growth to return to a more normal 5%, with net profit coming down to $5 billion. One should remember that historically, the long term growth of traffic worldwide averages 4.5 to 5% per annum.

Both Airbus and Boeing have produced another 20-year forecast which project that the fleet of airplanes of more than 100 seats will grow from 13,500 in 2006 to 28,500 by 2026. As expected, the growth in the number of airplanes by types varies between manufacturers, the main difference being that Boeing forecasts a need for 960 Very Large Airplanes, while Airbus projects 1,700 of those. Boeing forecasts a need for 17,600 single aisle aircraft, and Airbus projects 16,500.

For regional airplanes of 80-110 seats, the current 10-year forecast projects 1800 units. The demand for 50-seat regional jets is expected to virtually disappear, and to greatly diminish for jets in the 70-80 seat range.

The recent deterioration in the economic situation in the U.S. has introduced some uncertainty. The main visible immediate impact is a significant reduction estimated at 40% in the start of new homes, which will increase unemployment and reduce personal consumption including air travel.

This seems to have prompted the more traditional (legacy) U.S. airlines to re-examine the need to downsize their operation and gain efficiencies by mergers. At the present moment, Delta and Northwest are said to be actively engaged in merger discussions, and it would appear that United Airlines and Continental are also beginning to examine whether they could merge. Should that be accomplished, some fleet consolidation would result and that would trickle down as well to the associate regional feeder airlines.

Should consolidation significantly improve the financial strength of the legacy carriers, it would facilitate and hopefully accelerate their fleet renewal. It should be remembered that those carriers have the oldest fleets of any of the major international airlines.

Whether the ongoing economic slowdown in the U.S. will be of relatively short duration or will further deteriorate into a fully fledged recession is still unclear at this time.

Equally unclear is whether this U.S. economic situation will have a significant impact elsewhere in the world. Thus far, despite the fact that Canada sends more than 85% of its exports to the U.S., the impact has not been significant.

Given the huge volume of its exports of consumer goods to North America, China could be the most exposed to a U.S. recession. Other regions of Asia such as the Indian Sub-continent, as well as Russia, and Latin America may not be affected significantly – but it is still too early to draw definitive conclusions.

On the regional aircraft scene, SAS is now replacing its Dash 8 Q400 with the CRJ 700/900 as a result of confidence in the Q400 having been shaken by the recent nose- landing-gear-related accidents. This is somewhat unfortunate for the Dash 8 Q400, which had been selling relatively well, given that turboprops are more fuel-efficient. There is, however, continued customer resistance to turboprops as they still have an image of being older technology by comparison to jets.

Bombardier is trying hard to convince customers that their CRJ 900 NextGen provides a significant increase in customer appeal, and although cosmetic changes have improved the cabin, they may still find it very difficult to compete against Embraer.

Embraer’s wider-body cabin has gained much customer acceptance, particularly the model 195, and the current ratio of sales between Bombardier and Embraer is likely to continue to favor Embraer by 3 to1.

Bombardier has been authorized by its Board of Directors to offer its long-awaited 110-130 seat ‘C Series’ with Pratt & Whitney engines, which should provide the fuel consumption improvement required to make the ‘C Series’ a competitive airplane. First delivery would be in 2013.

To be a winner, the ‘C Series’ must achieve at least 12-15% improvement in operating cost over existing comparable size airplanes from Airbus, Boeing and Embraer.

The new Sukhoi regional jet has yet to fly, but if it meets expectations it could also become a significant competitor in the regional jet arena.

Airbus finally managed a good start with the A380 operation early performance with Singapore Airlines. Airbus has made good use of the production delay by cleaning up the types of problems usually associated with the start of operation of a new airplane type. Singapore reports only one technical problem in three months of operation, which for any new aircraft is an excellent performance. Unfortunately, the production rate will remain very slow for at least another year, as the cabling will continue to be produced manually. However, the A380 operation at this time looks good and I believe it will meet expectations in time as the production accelerates. But unless manufacturing costs of that airplane are significantly reduced, it is doubtful that a break-even point can be reached before 550 to 600 aircraft are sold.

Airbus is most fortunate that the A320 series continues to enjoy great popularity and as such generates a good part of their revenue sources today and for some time to come. A program is underway to further improve the efficiency of the A320 series, in particular to improve the fuel consumption by 1% initially and eventually by as much as 4-5%. This will further boost that airplane’s popularity for some time to come. Airbus will not likely be in a position to develop a successor to the A320 much before the year 2020.

The A340 family has clearly been outclassed by the Boeing 777 family, both the B777-200ER and 300ER, which basically leaves Airbus with the A330 family as its main contender in the medium size twin airplane market.

With the A350 XWB still 4-5 years away, Airbus is today most vulnerable in the large twin market. As the A350 family comes on line, it will then be in a position to compete much more effectively and likely displace some of the B777s, particularly the earlier generation. However, Airbus will then again be vulnerable in the smaller twin market as they will have no answer to the B787 series.

Although the B-787 program is likely to be as much as one year late, Boeing has managed to avoid the bad publicity which Airbus faced on the A380. The delay did not affect sales, with close to 700 B787s already sold despite the fact that the airplane has yet to fly.

Assuming the airplane is successfully launched, Boeing will have achieved a very dominant position in the smaller twin market, virtually holding a monopoly in that niche.

Boeing will be in a better position than Airbus to launch a successor to the B737 series should they wish to do so, as early as the 2016-2017 timeframe.

The new technology engines and composite experience should enable these new replacements to the B737s and the A320 airplanes to achieve at least 20% improvement in operation cost. Of this, reduction in fuel consumption is expected to be a major contributor.

The continuing weakness of the US dollar coupled with the rapid growth in the wealth of corporations and of individuals in Russia, India, China and Latin America will continue to fuel demand for private and corporate jets. In addition to Bombardier, Embraer, Gulfstream, Dassault, etc. – are gearing up to meet this demand. The rapid growth of this market segment represents an important opportunity for the avionics and IFE suppliers. However, they will also contribute to increasing the congestion in air traffic control capacity as well as airports.

Environmental pressures on aviation will continue to increase the demand for more efficient engines and continue to accelerate the search for less polluting types of fuel, some of which are being tested at this moment.

The recent signing of an air bilateral agreement between Europe, Canada and the U.S. could provide an additional boost to the traffic growth over the North Atlantic and will encourage additional liberalization of air markets around the world along the lines of this significant breakthrough in air bilaterals.

Should the world economy not deteriorate as a result of the current U.S. problem and the market takes advantage of this increased freedom, traffic growth could be sustained over the next timeframe at a higher level than is currently forecast.

In conclusion, despite some economic concerns raised by the situation in North America, some of which has spread to Europe, at least to the banking sector, I believe that one should remain reasonably optimistic on the prospects for the growth of commercial aviation over the next timeframe. The areas of healthy growth are likely to remain the Gulf, China, Southeast Asia – particularly India – and Latin America. It is entirely possible that the strength of their economies may this time largely cushion them from the current U.S. economic problems.

The Montreal Economic Institute supports Transport Canada’s new “Blue Sky” policy

The Montreal Economic Institute supports Transport Canada’s new
“Blue Sky” policy
Press release
November 27, 2006  >>

The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) welcomes the new “Blue Sky” policy on international air transportation unveiled today by the Canadian Minister of Transport Lawrence Cannon.

“It’s an important step towards a more globally open air transport market,” says the former head of Air Canada and IATA, Pierre Jeanniot, who authored two studies on this issue as an MEI Senior Fellow.

Mr. Jeanniot points out that the new policy clearly demonstrates the desire of the government to be more pro-active in its pursuit of Open Skies agreements. The new policy is more ambitious in that it will seek at the outset of each bilateral discussion so-called “fifth freedom” rights, whereby an airline is allowed to pick up passengers in another country and fly them to a third country. The MEI Senior Fellow is also pleased to learn that the government will from now on be guided not only by the priorities of the airlines, but also by the interests of the airports which in the past have often complained of being overlooked.

The document issued by Transport Canada indicates in its list of guiding principles that Canadian carriers must be able to compete in international markets on a level playing field. With this in mind, Pierre Jeanniot expresses the hope that the government will take into consideration the excessive levels of airport rents, fuel taxes and security charges which heavily burden Canadian operators and places them at a disadvantage in comparison to the United States. Last week, the Montreal Economic Institute issued an Economic Note arguing that in a context of growing liberalization of airline markets, this excessive burden on Canadian companies threatens their competitiveness.

The Montreal Economic Institute’s Flashpoint

The Montreal Economic Institute’s Flashpoint
Canada and the liberalization of air transport markets over the Atlantic  >>

> English version (PDF: 316 KB)
> French version (PDF: 324 KB)

Black box obsolete, says Pierre Jeanniot

Black box obsolete, says Pierre Jeanniot
Montreal, October 19, 2004  >>

“The black box is obsolete”, says Pierre J. Jeanniot. “New technology is now available that would make the recovery and analysis of critical aircraft performance factors a much surer and faster task than it is today.”

The Director General Emeritus of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and a former President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada was commenting on the recovery of the damaged flight data recorder of the MK Airlines cargo jet that crashed at the Halifax airport last week, claiming seven lives.

Mr. Jeanniot ought to know. As founder and head of the national airline’s operational research group in the 1960s, he suggested modifications to a British manufacturer’s electronic recorder designed for maintenance purposes that resulted in the famous “black box” so eagerly sought today by crash investigators.

“Instead of storing critical data in a box that is often damaged, hard to locate and sometimes lost, 21st century technology makes it possible to transmit the data via satellite to processing centres where it can be stored and accessed when needed.”

“Satellite transmission is becoming rapidly more economical”, he said. Transmission would begin only when abnormalities were recorded, limiting the amount of data that would have to be stored or analyzed by the centres.

A number of companies are actively developing this advanced concept, which Mr. Jeanniot suggested at an IATA Conference several years ago. Once a workable system is in place, governments should standardize its use and make it mandatory, he said, just as was done with the black box some 40 years ago.