$500 plane tickets in Quebec: the program’s blind spots

$”,”text”:”Ce ne sont pas tous les sièges dans l’avion qui seront fixés au tarif de 500$”}}”>Not all seats on the plane will be fixed at the $500 fareconfirms the spokesman for the Quebec Ministry of Transport (MTQ), Louis-André Bertrand, a few hours after Minister François Bonnardel’s press conference.

Overall, the government plan has been well received by the representatives of the regions, but there are a few blind spots.

The number of $500 plane tickets will be limited, this was allowed from the start, but Quebec does not yet know how many tickets will be available at that price. At the time of writing, MTQ was unable to provide estimates to Radio-Canada.

The MTQ was also unable to specify the criteria used to determine the number of tickets available by region or route.

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A quote from Louis-André Bertrand, spokesman for the Quebec Department of Transportation

How is the envelope divided?

The plan, presented by Minister François Bonnardel, is worth US$261 million over five years. How much of that is used to subsidize $500 worth of plane tickets? Impossible to know for sure.

Transport Minister François Bonnardel’s regional aid plan for air transport has been awaited for almost two years.

Photo: Radio Canada / Jean-Luc Blanchet

However, information on the MTQ website suggests that this will only be a fraction of the total turnover.

In 2022-2023, the government will release $34 million to fund not only $500 worth of flights, but also two other measures: an upgrade to the fare reduction program and financial support to increase air fare Frequency of flights in an underserved area.

Over the next four years, the amount for these three actions will grow from $34 million to $50 million, but the MTQ website doesn’t specify how the amounts will be distributed.

What efficiency?

With its $500 tickets, the government hopes to boost demand for regional flights so airlines will compete harder and sooner or later lower their fares.

MTQ spokesman Louis-André Bertrand reiterated that the $500 tickets represent value a step in that direction better accessibility for regional flights in the province.

However, in the absence of accurate data, it seems difficult at this time to estimate the potential impact of this measure on the ridership of Quebec’s regional airline industry.

About 875,000 passengers boarded or disembarked planes at a regional or local airport in the province in 2016, according to a document from the Quebec Association of Municipalities.

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