(Transportation and Works)
December 21, 2004


Minister meets with airline carriers

Tom Rideout, Minister of Transportation and Works, today announced that he has followed through with his commitment to meet with interested airline carriers regarding the possibility of providing service to areas that will no longer be serviced by Air Labrador. The minister also announced he had met with Air Labrador.

Minister Rideout said: "I am pleased to report that I have met with representatives of Provincial Airlines who expressed interest in stepping in to fill any void left as a result of the changes in service announced by Air Labrador to Stephenville, St. Anthony and south Labrador coastal communities.

Provincial Airlines said they are conducting their own due diligence on providing these services and would make their decision based on the outcome of that review. They committed to keeping the department informed of their work. In return, I have offered any assistance my department can provide to Provincial Airlines in helping them make a determination on this matter.

"The department will offer any support it can in providing information to airline carriers that are interested in exploring the possibility of providing service to areas affected by the recent announcement made by Air Labrador."

On December 9, 2004, Air Labrador informed the Department of Transportation and Works that the company had given required and appropriate notice to the Canadian Transportation Agency that effective January 13, 2005, it would be discontinuing scheduled passenger and cargo/express service to Stephenville and St. Anthony. The company also informed the department, at that time, that it would be discontinuing the same services to south Labrador coastal communities, effective April 13, 2005.

Minister Rideout said: "Since Air Labrador provided me with information regarding the services the company will be discontinuing, I have also met with that company. I have heard their issues and listened to the reasons for their decision to discontinue their service in selected areas."

Air Labrador said they are still exploring options to keep their services in place.

Minister Rideout said: "I committed to working with Air Labrador in providing any information my department may have which would help the company evaluate their options.

"The goal at this time is to ensure that airline service continues to be provided in the areas affected by Air Labrador’s decision. Our government will continue to work with all parties interested in providing this service. I have expressed my appreciation to the companies for their openness and willingness to work toward a solution for the towns and communities affected by the news."

Media contact: Lori Lee Oates, Communications, (709) 729-3015 or (709) 690-8403

2004 12 21                     12:50 p.m.

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