The adversary laughs this off - after all Bugs is only a rabbit.
Guess who loses in the end?
Well Air Canada "Of course you realize that this means war!"
I am supposedly off to Boston today - having taken 24 hours to get from DC to home last weekend - my flight was meant to leave at 6am today. It has been canceled. In theory, I get out at 3pm today and should arrive at 9.20pm tonight. If they fail here - I will not be able to get out at all as there is no seat available for a week now.
Now delays happen all the time - my beef is about capacity. I have a structural beef.
One of the reasons that I had to drive from Moncton on Saturday is that there were no seats available to PEI until Monday. I would not have been able to fly home in spite of their error the entire weekend. The Atlantic system, and PEI in particular, is undeserved.
Jazz, who are the AC Connector are flying completely full. There are no seats out of PEI for a week. This is with Westjet who are flying a full 737 every day. In effect, if you don't book at least a week or 10 days in advance, you cannot get in or out of PEI. If something goes wrong - in winter it happens all the time - then you are stuck. In effect, Air Canada is locking us out of the world.
They have the capacity but choose not to apply it. Their flights from Montreal to Quebec City fly hourly and are half full.
What does this mean for us?
In Europe there has been a travel driven economic revolution. Small places like PEI have been linked by cheap air travel to major centres. People who used to live and work in London now commute from villages in Spain or Italy. Small European towns are now connected to the world and are reviving. As their sons moved to the cities, now City dwellers are moving to the villages.
It is possible to live in Carcassonne and have your job in London. You gain the Carcassonne lifestyle and still have complete access to London. Small places like PEI are having money and life pumped back into them because of the Internet and air travel.
This can happen on PEI. We can have our sons and daughters leave for a while but also have people come and invest in us in return - creating a place that our children can return too. But not if we do not have enough air capacity.
Air Canada is hurting not just poor old Rob but all of PEI.
We are being punished. Doing business with PEI is being made too challenging for most to cope with. Air Canada is in effect putting us under blockade. Why? Because we worked with Westjet to add more capacity here. We acted in our own interests and we are being made to pay.
The stakes are high for us here on PEI. We have to attract the new creatives to come and live and to work here. They are the people that will ensure that we have a viable society. If they don't come here, our kids will leave and we will be left as a seniors home.
This news article says in effect that Europeans are now looking at Atlantic Canada as a place to live and to invest in.
Here are some prices from Ryanair dated Feb 19. This is what has changed the destiny of places like PEI in Europe. Small town Europe faces the same demographic pressure as does PEI. They too are losing their young. But many places are being renewed by the creative worker who now can live anywhere - provided that they have access to air and to the web.
The key strategy is to have a vibrant air bridge. We have not only to break the blockade but we have to build bigger bridges to the outside world. So what could we do?
The Ryanair model works like this. They partner with the cities they serve. The cities recognize that access has a value and they share this with the carrier. Our future depends on us having an influx of the kind of people tat will invest in us and who want to have what we truly are. We need people to come here that share our values and embrace our way of life. Thousands of them live in Europe.
Until now the European model has been confined to Europe. But PEI could be the bridge. Halifax and Moncton are prisoners of Air Canada - if they were to cut the deal, they would be punished by Air Canada. But we are already in the woodshed. We can open up Summerside - we can make PEI Summerside a tax free zone. Summerside is free from fog and can hanger a 747. The runway is full size. We have a unique structural asset.
Imagine what $100 one way flight to Europe might do to PEI? Imagine what this would do for tourism? Imagine what this would do for business? Imagine what this would do for Westjet? Imagine what this would do to Air Canada!!!!!
- Make this a political issue - Pat and Robert - please carry the torch - the rest of us help Pat and Robert see that this is a key issue
- Negotiate the first transatlantic air bridge with some one like Ryanair. We can use Summerside
- Negotiate with Westjet the feed system
- Create a tax free zone at Summerside
- Make this a mainstream media issue - hello CBC!!!!
- Make every effort to fly Westjet and not Air Canada
- In particular, when you fly long haul - fly anyone but Air Canada - this is where you hurt them the most
- If you are a blogger - make this your issue too
We can do this. If we do, then we take PEI back to where we were before Confederation. Before Confederation PEI had close direct ties with Britain, the Caribbean and the Boston States. We lost this independence and became a backwater as the price of joining Canada.
We can become the Hong Kong of the Atlantic seaboard. It takes only the will and the work. It's not that high a hill and think of how much fun it will be to gain our place in the world back.
I am game for a try - what about you?
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