Canada’s Air Transportation Industry: A Golden Age Comes to An End?

The Conference Board of Canada, March 8, 2018
Recorded Webinar by
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This is the Golden Age of air travel for Canadian airlines. Demand has surged thanks to declining air fares and costs are down dramatically due to lower fuel prices. The relatively weak Canadian dollar makes it more affordable for international passengers to come to Canada and encourages Canadians to fly domestically.

All in all, airlines’ financial position has never been so strong, with pre-tax profits projected to hit new highs in 2017.

Can the industry continue to soar in 2018 and beyond? The demand outlook continues to be strong, but the impact of a favourable currency will begin to wear off – with fewer Americans flying to Canada and more Canadians heading south. Even though the industry’s performance is expected to level off, it remains a standout in the Canadian economy, simultaneously benefiting from strong near and long-term outlooks.

In this webinar, Sabrina Bond discusses the golden age for air transportation, based on the Conference Board’s exclusive Industrial Economic Trends forecast. The major indicators of industry performance will be covered, including: production, price, investment, employment revenues, labour and material costs, profits and profit margins.

Webinar Highlights

In addition to describing the industry’s five-year outlook, Sabrina will also cover key trends shaping the outlook and risks to the golden age, including:

  • U.S. travel – In 2018, the number of Americans flying to Canada will increase at a much slower pace and Canadians have already started returning to the U.S. in greater numbers. Canadian airlines are in a good place to serve these passengers—thanks to their new routes and increased capacity—but some will travel on U.S-based airlines depending on price and specific need.
  • Fuel price increases —The industry’s fuel efficiency has improved considerably over the past decade, and the short-term prospects of an unexpected rise in fuel costs are remote. But any unexpected shock to the global balance of supply and demand could send fuel prices soaring.
  • Climate change policies – Air transportation creates a lot of greenhouse gas emissions, and the strong outlook for demand means that airlines will continue to be large emitters. However, airlines across the globe are taking steps to mitigate their risk.
  • Protectionism risk—The long-term prospects for air travel hinge on the continued integration of the global economy. Further uncertainty in global trade and investment would likely curtail business travel demand and put pleasure travel at some risk.

About Sabrina

Photo of Sabrina BondSabrina Bond is a contributor to the Conference Board's Provincial, National, and Industrial Forecast teams, and provides current economic analysis on business investment, business confidence, the Ontario economy, and the automotive sector. Ms. Bond is the author of a variety of economic publications, with topics touching on fiscal reform, federal and provincial budgetary analysis, health care reform, and labour market imbalances. She has expertise in cost-benefit analysis, and has also created a range of custom economic models for private clients. Ms. Bond is a regular spokesperson for the Conference Board, and delivers presentations and economic commentary in the media on her work.

Ms. Bond has previously worked as a strategy consultant for a management consultancy specializing in providing sales and marketing advice the pharmaceutical sector. As a strategy consultant, she advised top-10 Canadian pharmaceutical subsidiaries on organizational design, product pipeline development, institutional sales force design, and market entry strategy across a range of clinical indications.

Ms. Bond is an MBA graduate and Bregman Scholar of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and holds a Master's of Economics from York University and a B.A. (Hons.) with distinction from Queen's University.

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