Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues on all sides of the House for the unanimous consent granted in order that I may make this announcement.
I am announcing that, as Minister of Transport, I intend to designate Air Canada as the second carrier to Japan following completion of negotiations with the Japanese government. Under the current Air Services Agreement between Canada and Japan, Canada has the authority to designate more than one carrier to serve that country. We have advised the Japanese government that we want to resume air negotiations as soon as possible.
On September 1, 1994, a new airport is to open in Osaka, Japan's largest air transport market after Tokyo, of course. With a population of over 20 million, the Osaka region offers important opportunities for Canadian carriers in the Asian market.
A number of desirable landing and takeoff slots at Kansai Airport have been provisionally reserved for Canada. The federal government must now move quickly to finalize the details of an agreement to use these valuable slots.
The Japanese air transport market is large and profitable. It is in Canada's best interest that our two major carriers have a presence there. Canadian Airlines International will continue to have exclusive access to the largest Japanese centre, Tokyo.
Air Canada stated yesterday its clear and unequivocal undertaking that all litigation that prevents Canadian Airlines from closing its deal with AMR Corporation will be stopped immediately. Air Canada's announcement yesterday was an important one for restoring stability in the airline industry.
I understand that today's decision is a difficult one to accept for Canadian Airlines. However, I am looking forward to a new era for the airline industry in Canada.
Our government is committed to a viable, competitive airline industry. Canada's two great airlines can now get on with their business. They are in a position to move forward with confidence into the future.
I could not let this occasion pass without expressing my sincerest gratitude to Rhys Eyton of Canadian Airlines and to Hollis Harris of Air Canada for having been able to move with great courage toward this resolution of a problem that has plagued the Canadian airline industry for far too long.