Councillors push for flights
By Joel Ceausu
If no one thought about it already, then Marvin Rotrand and Benoit Dorais are stating what should be obvious: “Montreal has a role to play in promoting its airport,” wrote Dorais in a release accompanying recommendations to the city’s public consultation on increasing direct international connections.
“Montreal should focus its work on ways to strengthen the position of Montreal’s Trudeau Airport and add new international destinations,” writes Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand, who made a submission to the consultation last week. “Direct international flights are a major economic asset which strengthen the economy, attract investment and create jobs.”
It’s a sobering view of Montreal’s place internationally, as the mantra Montreal is urged to adopt is: “You can get there without having to go through Toronto.”
“We believe the mayor of Montreal in his role as president of the must be a member ex officio of the board of Aéroports de Montreal (AdM),” writes Sud-Ouest Borough Mayor Dorais. “We want him to act as ambassador to attract new direct international routes,” he says, similar to the approach by Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker which was “a great success. We need a much more aggressive approach, and concrete results.”
Some of the recommendations by the pair include a motion to get the Montreal agglomeration to support efforts by the AdM to get an Air China route from Montreal to Beijing, and support Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard in his discussions with Air China leaders during his mission to China.
Closer to home, they believe that signage at the airport’s arrivals section be improved and include more languages, notably in Mandarin if Air China begins servicing Trudeau airport. The Quebec government should also consider the STM’s 747 airport shuttle an essential service and fund its increased operation. Each 747 passenger would receive a “welcome kit” containing tourist information and rebates for attractions, services and restaurants. The AdM would manage this program, with the various levels of government picking up the cost.
The two municipal politicians – from different political parties – agree that direct international flights should be the priority of the AdM business plan, and that Montreal should develop its market to Asia and South America. Vancouver and Calgary are two cities, according to Rotrand, that are well placed to promote “impressive growth” of their airports in the number and frequency of international departures and arrivals.
“Due to its geographical location, Vancouver is well placed to benefit from its ties to the East. Montreal needs to recognize the will of Vancouver to attract investment and strengthen trade ties with the Chinese. The need for an international flight between Montreal and China is almost an economic imperative,” he said, adding Calgary airport is undergoing a major reconstruction including 22 new gates for international and transborder departures.
Read all the recommendations (In French only) at www.coalitionmtl.com/fr/nouvelles/article/175
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