Canada Jetlines gets local support for changes to foreign ownership rules
Canada's a great place to invest, but the rule around foreign ownership a roadblock, CEO says
Jim Scott, president and CEO of Canada Jetlines, said his company has applied to Transport Canada to be allowed an exemption to the rule that says an airline based in Canada is only permitted to have 25 per cent foreign voting interest.
The company has an investor from Europe who would like to help the airline get started, but Scott said the investor is concerned once the airline starts trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, they would lose any say of the future of the airline.
"Otherwise they said Canada's great," Scott said. "It's the last G7 country not to have ultra low-cost, the model works everywhere."
Support from local politicians, airport GM
The application for an exemption was filed in the spring and Scott hopes to hear from the federal government later this month.
We're supportive of any new competition in Canada, especially for airlines that target smaller, regional-sized airports.- Chris Wood, general manager of Region of Waterloo International Airport
He said he is optimistic it will get approved, especially because the company's request has received support from politicians in Waterloo region as well as Chris Wood, the general manager of the Region of Waterloo International Airport.
Wood said the letter of support sent to the government suggested changing the foreign ownership rules would benefit smaller airports all over Canada.
"We are in support of raising the limits to increase competition," Wood said. "We're supportive of any new competition in Canada, especially for airlines that target smaller, regional-sized airports and communities that are underserved."
'Could be very significant'
Scott said the company plans to begin operations about six months after they receive approval from Transport Canada and secure full funding. They would start selling tickets 60 days before the first flight.
He said there is definitely the customer base to support a low-cost airline.
"Waterloo is a perfect example of an airport which is too close to Pearson to get its own service, yet it has a big enough catchment area that it can support its own point-to-point service almost anywhere in North America," he said.
Wood said getting a new airline flying out of the airport in Breslau "could be very significant for us."