ALPA's Communications Department provides information and support for news media inquiries. An ALPA communications representative can be reached in the Herndon, Va. office at (703) 481-4440.

News Release

Release #03.029
March 31, 2003

ALPA Pilots Continue to Press Canada Government for Relief from Oppressive Airline Taxes

OTTAWA---The union that represents more than 2,000 airline pilots in Canada is asking Ottawa to roll back excessive government taxes and mandated costs that threaten to smother the nation's ailing airline system.

"ALPA is supporting a national coalition of travel industry leaders who met today in Ottawa to demand that the federal government immediately reduce the cost burden that federal taxes and fees are imposing on Canadian air travellers. I am calling on our government to review its policies that are squeezing the life out of this important sector of our economy," said Capt. Kent Hardisty, head of the Canada Board unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, International.

"In part, the doldrums of the Canadian aviation marketplace are the legacy of the merger between Air Canada and Canadian Airlines, the September 11 attacks, the sagging economy and, now, the war in Iraq. However, a great portion of the industry's woes are being caused directly by the federal government, which has created a significant and negative impact upon the viability of Canadian airlines by its imposition of a myriad of taxes, charges and additional costs that eat away any potential profit," Hardisty said.

"Higher ticket prices due in large part to these fees, taxes and charges have resulted in significant reductions in passenger traffic. Although the government recently reduced the Air Travellers Security Charge on domestic routes, but not on international ones, this situation, in which passengers finance national security, is perverse and unfair. Clearly, as we see with the current crisis situation facing Air Canada, the status quo is not sustainable within the airline industry itself, or in the many industries that support it," Hardisty said.

"Our pilots are ready and willing to work together with airline companies and the government to solve the problems of the airline industry. It is a crucial segment of our economy, both in its own right and to the extent that other industries rely on it. The airlines employ tens of thousands of highly skilled workers who live in hundreds of communities across Canada paying taxes and spending their hard-earned income," Hardisty said.

ALPA, the world's oldest and largest airline pilot union, represents 66,000 pilots at 42 carriers in Canada and the U.S. Its Web site is at

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ALPA CONTACT: Art LaFlamme (613) 569-5668