AIR CANADA and Canadian Airlines International have asked their Government for all of the slots which available to Canadian carriers at New York La Guardia and Chicago O'Hare airports under the proposed open-skies agreement with the USA. The pact, is expected to be signed when US President Bill Clinton visits Canada, at the end of this month.

Under the agreement, the Canadian carriers would get 14 extra slots at La Guardia and ten at O'Hare. Air Canada says that it is asking for all of the slots, because it already serves the two destinations. Canadian says that it wants them all, because it has none and notes that Air Canada already has 28 at La Guardia and 26 at O'Hare. Canadian now only flies to two US cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

If its request is granted, Air Canada says that it would add seven daily flights between Toronto and New York, effectively turning the route into an hourly shuttle. It would also introduce an Ottawa-Chicago service three times a day and fly Halifax-Chicago twice a day. Canadian is proposing seven flights a day between Toronto and New York, three between Toronto and Chicago and two daily flights between Vancouver and Chicago.

Both airlines, however, may soon face new competition from Canadian charter operators and US Budget airlines.

Royal Air and Air Transat, both Montreal-based, say that they are considering moves into scheduled services, while Southwest Airlines of Dallas and Valujet of Atlanta say that they are looking at the Canadian market. Valujet has already applied to fly between Montreal and Washington DC. The airline is also considering flights between Montreal and Atlanta and Florida (Flight International, 1-7 February).

Source: Flight International