Travel agencies like Gateway and Zeus travel have grown increasingly popular over the past year as more travellers have opted for cheaper domestic flights.
But the two are facing a challenge: While the government is cracking down on foreign travel by Canadian citizens, the majority of Canadians still fly on their own.
And with international travel booming, some travellers are now opting to fly domestically, a trend that’s already had a ripple effect in the US.
The new guidelines, issued by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Canada, say airlines should offer domestic flights with more seat capacity, better food and beverage options, and a better customer service experience.
In its most recent annual report, the government says the number of domestic flights operated by Canadian airlines jumped by 23 per cent last year.
But, while that increase may be enough to offset the growth in international flights, the agency’s research shows the domestic market is still lagging behind.
The report, which was released Tuesday, found that the share of domestic passengers in Canadian carriers’ passenger traffic dropped to 20.7 per cent from 22.7 percent last year, despite the country’s growth in passenger traffic.
The share of international passengers increased to 27.2 per cent, compared with 19.4 per cent in 2016.
The government says its goal is to keep Canadians as competitive as possible, and that it’s working to expand the number and type of domestic flight options for Canadians.
The airline industry and the government agree that airlines should look for ways to attract domestic passengers, and the two sides have agreed to develop a new, more streamlined process for Canadian airlines to introduce more domestic flights in order to better compete with the competition.
In addition to new domestic routes, the report says airlines should also consider bringing back the Canadian Air Travel Association’s domestic route to Canada.
The association is an association that represents airline pilots, flight attendants and passengers in Canada.