Competition Bureau completes extensive investigations into northern airlines

News Release

Following its review, Bureau determines no further action warranted

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August 22, 2017 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau announced today that it is closing its investigations relating to air transportation services for passengers and cargo in Northern Canada.

The Bureau conducted investigations into three matters: a merger between First Air and Calm Air, a codeshare agreement between First Air and Canadian North, and allegations of predatory pricing against First Air and Canadian North.

In conducting each investigation, the Bureau gathered evidence and obtained information from diverse sources including the companies targeted, competitors, customers and various levels of governments. The Bureau also retained the services of financial and economic experts.

During the course of the Bureau’s investigation, First Air and Canadian North terminated their codeshare agreement, resolving concerns regarding its potential impact on competition.

With respect to the merger between First Air and Calm Air and the investigation into allegations of predatory pricing by First Air and Canadian North, the Bureau did not find sufficient evidence to challenge the airlines’ actions under the Competition Act. Should the Commissioner determine that any future conduct or business combinations engaged in by carriers operating in the North are anti-competitive, within the meaning of the Competition Act, he will not hesitate to take appropriate action.

Details of the investigations and the findings are available on the Bureau’s website in a comprehensive position statement.

Quotes

“Air transportation is challenging in the North due to difficult weather conditions and operational challenges. However, it is also essential to remote communities, businesses and governments who rely on it for economic development, food and healthcare. For these reasons, competition plays a key role and while we are closing our investigations, airlines must recognize that compliance with the Competition Act is an essential practice and the Bureau will continue to be vigilant in this arena.”

John Pecman,
Commissioner of Competition

Quick Facts

  • First Air, Canadian North and Calm Air are among the largest airlines servicing northern Canadian communities for both passenger and cargo services.

  • The Bureau’s ultimate conclusions are based upon the evidence it obtains and the legal tests required by the Competition Act.

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