Monday,  March 27, 2023  9:25 pm

Canada and the D.R. sign open skies agreement to boost connectivity

  • Air
  •   02-05-2023  6:28 pm
  •   Pax Global Media
Canada and the D.R. sign open skies agreement to boost connectivity
Juanillo Beach in Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic. (Pax Global Media)
Pax Global Media

In an effort to boost connectivity, trade and tourism, the governments of Canada and the Dominican Republic have signed an “open skies” agreement that will remove restrictions for airlines from the two countries.

The bilateral air transport deal, which has been described as “historic,” will ease the rules on frequency and routes in which carriers are operating.

As of the signing, which took place last Thursday (Feb. 2), airlines in both countries will be able to operate direct flights between any airport in the Dominican Republic and Canada.

"This agreement will improve direct connectivity between the two states and boost air transport as a tool to promote tourism and trade, vital for the economic development of the country,” stated José Marte Piantini, head of the Dominican Civil Aviation Board.

Cheaper tickets?

In addition, the agreement also brings a promise of more affordable fares. 

As reported by Dominican Today, the president of the Dominican Airlines Association (ADLA), Omar Chahín, says travellers will have access to cheaper tickets as a result of the agreement.

READ MORE: Air Transat, Sunwing & Air Canada sign cooperation agreement with the D.R.

Chahín said that with a greater offer of flights between the two countries, “the conditions will improve for the passengers, who will have access to cheaper travel tickets.”

Punta Cana International Airport. (photosounds/Shutterstock)

The agreement, which will last for approximately 14 years, stipulates that airlines can offer services beyond their current flight frequencies and diversify the destinations that are served.

“All [airlines] equally, but those with a better fiscal environment, will take greater advantage,” Chahín was quoted as saying. 

Growing air transport 

Travellers, however, shouldn’t expect any major changes at first as careful consideration to market demand will be taken before anything new is launched.

More than 715,000 Canadians visited the Dominican Republic in 2022, so the opportunity to grow the two markets is there.

As reported by Aviacionline, most flights between the Dominican Republic and Canada are operated by Canadian carriers, with Air Transat representing 40.4% of seat supply, followed by Sunwing (31%), Air Canada (18%), WestJet (7.5%), and Swoop (3.1%)

But the agreement might also create space for new players.

Dominican airline Arajet has expressed interest in starting operations to Canada, and thanks to the agreement, “air services will be more affordable and efficient, free supply and demand will be strengthened, air transport between our countries will grow and opportunities for commercial and cultural exchange will increase,” stated Founder and CEO of Arajet Victor Pacheco Méndez.

The Dominican ultra low-cost carrier, which ramped up service in September 2022, aspires to turn Santo Domingo into a hub with continental reach, Aviacionline reports.

The news is another chapter in the Dominican Republic and Canada’s ongoing efforts to build tourism together.

Last May, the Dominican’s Ministry of Tourism and Asonahores (the Hotel and Tourism Association of the Dominican) signed an agreement with Canadian tour operators and airlines aimed at promoting new routes for the purpose of increasing the number of Canadian visitors.

As first reported by PAX, the deal – a letter of intent –  was signed by Renée Boisvert, vice-president of products at Air Transat, Eric Rodriguez, executive vice-president of partner development at Sunwing Travel Group and Dina Bertolo, vice-president of product development at Air Canada Vacations, at last year’s Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange, “DATE” for short.  

The agreement ultimately creates an opportunity for turning potential new routes (and properties) into a reality.

“There hasn’t been a government that has been this collaborative and this communicative with us,” Rodriguez told PAX at the time. “As tour operators, we embrace it.”

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